Monday, August 03, 2009
Fire by Kristin Cashore Imagine something so beautiful it staggers people in their tracks, fogs the mind and drives them mad with desire and the need to possess the beautiful thing they see. This is the kind of reaction Fire, the namesake of Kristin Cashore's new book, can spark with the merest glimpse of her face. Fire is a monster. In The Dells monsters are the most colorful, gorgeous and dangerous creatures alive. Most monsters are of the animal variety; they might be a bright green horse or a pink cat. The one thing they all have in common is the ability to stun their prey by their sheer beauty and the power to capture the mind. Smaller monster creatures, like bugs, are not so powerful, but a human monster is the most captivating of all and Fire is the only living human monster in existence. Named for her glorious red hair, Fire has grown up in a world in which people either react to her with overwhelming awe or suspicion. Men want to possess her and because unrequited desire so often turns to hate, Fire is in constant danger. But Fire's incredible beauty isn't the only thing that puts her in harms way. Part of her power is the ability to enter the mind and control the thoughts of others. She is loath to use this power because she saw how her father abused this talent and nearly drove the kingdom to ruin before his death. But the world is on the brink of war and she agrees to use her power to stop the war and save the man she loves. "Fire" is the sequel to Cashore's very successful debut novel Graceling. I had not read the first book by Cashore, but "Fire" is written as a prequel to "Graceling" and doesn't require any knowledge of the story before picking it up-- and am I glad I didn't let its "sequel" status stop me. I don't read a lot of "teen" fiction but "Fire" is the kind of book that is easily accessible to teens and adults alike. Sweetly romantic, imaginative and engaging, the pages literally turn themselves as the story unfolds. "Fire" is one of those books that is like comfort food for the brain and hits the sweet spot for the romantic in all of us. Cashore definitely has a gift for creating wonderful characters that live and breath on the page. "Fire" isn't flawless, there are moments when the resolution of certain situations have a dues ex machina feel but emotion trumps logic when you read a book like "Fire," and that's why I'll be going back and reading this book again and again. It's brain candy, but I'm not embarrassed to say I thoroughly enjoyed the story. In fact, I'm currently on the hunt for a copy of "Graceling," because anything else will seem disappointing after reading "Fire."