As I wrote in an earlier post about my New Year's Resolutions, I have decided that I will read thirty books this year.
The first book of the year, which I finished on Saturday, was Fire by Kristen Cashore. This book was recommended to me by a relative of mine, Morgan, and I must say, I really enjoyed it. It is commonly written on websites and such that it is the second book in the Graceling series by Cashore, but really, it's a companion novel to the first book, Graceling. It's a prequel, really, because there are some characters (mainly Leck) that are in Graceling, which I am reading right now.
Fire is about a girl named Fire who is a monster. However, in this world, monsters are beautiful creatures, though deadly. Fire has telepathic powers, though they are sometimes limited if the person she's trying to talk to has had training to keep monsters out of their minds. She's one of the last human monsters in the Dells, the daughter of a terrible monster named Cansrel, who was the advisor to King Nax. Cansrel was a very unforgiving person and would use his ability of telepathy to influence people to do things that he wanted them to do. He thus had a pretty bad reputation and Fire has to live under the shadow of his reputation, even though he died when she was little. She had lived in the woods with her friend Archer and his father, Brocker for her life, but she came out of "hiding" to help the king, King Nash, to find out secrets from spies from other kingdoms that he captured. While the kingdom is on the brink of war, there is also another problem going on-these mysterious murders that are caused by a man with a white arrow, who's mind is controlled by another person, so Fire also has to find out who that is as well.
Overall, I thought this book was very good. The writing was excellent, the characters all had a purpose, and the pacing was good as well. I also really liked the fact that the prologue tied in really well to the whole story. You don't really know the purpose of the prologue until you get to the end, and I love it when authors do that. I liked all the characters except Archer because even though he's Fire's best friend, he sure doesn't act like it, and he doesn't know how to control himself, and that aggravated me. I must say again that I really really liked the writing. It was written more elegantly than, say, a realistic fiction book about high school. It was written like how I imagine people in a kingdom would speak.
I also really liked the themes in the book-trying to judge people based on their personality, having lots and lots of power and all that you can do with that power, but knowing how to exercise it. That's actually a theme that I really like in general, because I think it's so important. Just because we have power doesn't mean we have to use it, and we also have to decide what exactly to use it for.
Fire was an easy read, and I would probably recommend it for ages 14+. Four and a half stars out of five. I've decided to give five stars out of five sparingly-they have to be really really special to get five stars.