Publisher: UK – Gollancz
In a world of stunningly beautiful, exceptionally dangerous monsters, Fire is one of the most dangerous monsters of all - a human one. Marked out by her vivid red hair, she's more than attractive. Fire is mesmerising. But with this extraordinary beauty comes influence and power. People who are susceptible to her appeal will do anything for her attention, and for her affection. They will turn away from their families, their work, and their duties for her. They will forget their responsibilities to please her . . . and worse, crush nations, neglect kingdoms and abuse their power. Aware of her power, and afraid of it, Fire lives in a corner of the world away from people, and away from temptation. Until the day comes when she is needed - a day when, for her king, she has to take a stand not only against his enemies, but also against herself . . .
Graceling was a decent story with some great characters, an interesting premise and a story that swept you along. I enjoyed it but thought it was slightly overhyped. Fire, a semi-prequel, set in the same world but in a different land with one cross-over character is better. The characters more memorable and different – a variety of soldiers, princes and archers of both sexes with the main character Fire, herself a truly unique character. She is called a human monster, but she is perhaps one of the most human characters I’ve ever read about. Throughout the novel she struggles to come to terms with her history and upbringing and to get to grips with her unusual powers . She is markedly different from everyone else and aware of how much she can influence people both for good and ill. Compared to another character who also impacts everyone, she struggles to do the right thing in a world where politics means that sometimes it’s the case of the lesser of two evils.
This book has elements I love – politics, unusual powers and a believable romance. Perhaps where Fire loses a little is a lack of characterisation of the ‘bad guys’ and their motives. In general, they are depicted as anti-royalists and simply want to gain power, but this isn’t explored fully. As the novel is told primarily from Fire’s point of view this could be excused, but I am intrigued by some of these bad guys – especially Lady Murgda – I can’t help feeling there is a story behind her and her brothers actions that I’d like to know more about. Overall, though I really enjoyed this book – it swept me along and allowed me to think about the nature of humanity.
Recommended for fans of Jennifer Fallon and Twilight. 8.5 out of 10.