Author: Kristin Cashore.
Published: October 5th 2009 by Dial boks.
Sort: Graceling Realm #2.
Graceling Realm #1. Graceling
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men. This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own. Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom. If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
Fire is the child of a human monster (father) and human (mother), which makes her one too. They have exceptional beauty and they are gifted with the capability of controlling minds. Her father reveled in his power over others and it made him cruel. He drove the first king of Dell, Nax, into madness and his son Nash is now trying to fix the chaos. His kingdom is falling apart and several rebels are trying to claim the throne. Nash only loyal subject is his brother, Brigan, who is the commander of his army. Fire is living with Archer and his father in a house hidden in the forest. She is afraid of her power and tries to use it as little as possible, afraid she might turn into her father, but Nash needs her power to unravel all his enemies.
I liked that the story starts with Immiker, a boy Graced with the gift of mind-control, who later turns out to be King Lech. You might recognize his name from Graceling. He later returns in this storyline and it was a fun way to make a connection with the first book.
I loved Fire right away. Yes, she often complaints about how unfair it is that she is so beautiful, but at the same time she must hide herself because every male who lays his eye on her wants to ‘claim’ her. It made her feel unappreciated for her other features, like her intelligence and loving heart. Fire is also feisty and brave, which made me really appreciate her. Some of the attack situations made me feel a little uncomfortable, but at the same time I applaud Cashore for the way she handles it.
The only thing that can save Fire from the results of her extreme beauty is her gift, but she doesn’t like to use it often. It was amazing to see how she blooms when she is brought to court under the watching eye of Brigan – who is unaffected by her. She starts to realizes that her gift can be used for good things and she wants to help Nash whenever she can. I always like it when characters develop in such a way and it gave a good base for the growing affection between her and Brigan.
"And because you are neither my husband nor my father; I am a woman of seventeen, I have my own horses and my own money, and I decide for myself where I go and when. This is not yours to forbid."
The plot is interesting. It’s about a mysterious archer she must tries to identify. He leaves a trail of dead men and Nash must know what is going on. There is also a pact between his two main enemies and they must find out what they are up to, before it is too late. The pacing was perfect and I flew through the pages. At the end I still wasn't ready to leave Fire, but the story is nicely wrapped-up (and I can already tell you that the conclusion to this series, Bitterblue, is very good too).