Fire by Kristin Cashore
Published Year: 2009
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Technically the second book in the Graceling realm but in terms of timeline, Fire falls first. Fire is a human monster and in the Dells, this gives her the power to control minds. After the death of her father, Fire thinks she's the only one with the power to control humans, and she's determined for it to stay that way.
I absolutely loved the story of Fire, and watching her character growth. Though she may be a monster in name, she struggles with whether or not she's a monster in practice. KC does a beautiful job of painting grey characters that struggle with realistic problems that aren't straight black or white.
The relationships between the royal family members is another of my favorite elements of this book. Each member is so individual and they each butt against the other, but fit together too, that it's so interesting. I love these characters!
KC also has painted this vivid world with these fantastic creatures with the power to control your mind. Each type of animal were familiar with can be a "monster" and can lure in; it's so fascinating. And KC has such colorful and expert descriptions that it almost seems realistic.
This magical land and Fire's wonderful adventures are ones you won't soon forget! I highly recommend this one and the rest of the Graceling realm.
5 out of 5 stars.