Thursday, October 1, 2009

Review - Fire by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore
Dial Books
461 pg (ARC)
Rdg time: 6 1/2 hrs. (almost straight through)
October 2009

Fire is a human monster, born of a human mom and a monster dad. She never met her mom and she's trying to live down her dad's reputation. She lives with Archer and Brocker. Brocker is her substitute dad while Archer is her sometimes boyfriend. Monsters can read minds. They can change the mindsof others. They can also send their thoughts into others head. This ability earns Fire a call to the King's City. King Nash, Prince Brigan, Prince Garan, and Princess Clara want her to come and help them as they prepare for war. They want to use Fire's talents to spy on their enemies.

Although this is a prequel to Graceling, it is really nothing like it! Both books have Leck - here we see him as a child - but that's where the similarities end. Fire and company know nothing of these Gracelings and though Fire and Leck have similar sounding powers - Leck's power is really basic.

Brigan is my favorite male character so far this year - move over Mr. Darcy. The book is so engaging, I had a hard time putting it down, and when I did, I kept thinking about it. The last 100 or so pages found me crying off and on - they were so beautiful and well-written. Fire reads more like a love story than an action book. Yes, it had action and intrigue. Brigan was always going off to some battle front. Fire was always guarded by 6 0r 7 soldiers. Someone may have been killed in every chapter. There was also revenge and double crossing. But ultimately we follow Fire as she learns to love herself, learns to separate love from lust, learns what it means to love someone else.

I have some concerns with some of the subject matter - rape, sleeping around, unwanted pregnancy, morning after herbs, herbs to prevent pregnancy - seemed to have been more of that in this book than Graceling. Seemed a little preachy on Cashore's part - we got her views on marriage in Graceling and Fire seemed to promote her views on sex.

Those concerns give me pause when it comes to rating this book. If it was an adult book - no hesitation - but it's for young adults - 14 and above - at least that's how it's marketed. I'm gonna give it 4 copies with hesitation. I loved this book. I actually kept going back and re-reading parts of it. I had to read something else, at 2 in the morning, bcuz I couldn't get my mind off of it. AARRGGH! BN a school librarian iz hard.


  1. Yes, being a school librarian is quite difficult! You're made to feel like if you do anything close to censuring that your ALA membership card will be revoked! Yet and still, we have to draw the line somewhere, don't we? I have this series in my media center, haven't read it but I know the issues you mentioned haven't been presented in reviews I've read.

  2. KB,
    Do you think the treatment of sex, pregnancy is inappropriate for the targeted audience? The fact that you find these points troubling might be a great opportunity to talk with students what they think is appropriate and if they think their parents would feel differently.

    If it's preachy, the book is likely to turn some kids off.

  3. Susan,
    It's not my place to discuss these issues with students. I personally wouldn't want the librarian discussing these issues with my child either. I did Graceling as a book club and we touched on her, Katsa's, decision to not marry but that was it.

    These books will be in our school library, with a YA sticker, but that's as far as I will go.

    I did feel that Cashore was being preachy but I also remember that students don't always "see" the same things in books that I do.

    Our students range in age from 10-14 and the maturity levels have an even wider range.


Thanks for chatting! I love comments and look forward to reading yours! I may not reply right away, but I am listening! Keep reading and don't forget to be awesome!


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