Tuesday, November 3, 2009

While I was looking the other way your fire went out, left me with cinders to kick into dust… – Week 8

Oh how I love young adult fiction. One of my co-workers suggested that I read Graceling, Kristin Cashore's first novel and companion to Fire. I'd never been into fantasy until I started reading these books. I love Cashore's writing. It's interesting and intelligent, yet easy to read. I love her characters. In both Graceling and Fire, her main characters are strong and powerful women. The men/love interests are equally engrossing. If you've read Graceling you know what I mean. Who read that book and didn't fall in love with Po?

In Fire, the main character is the book's namesake. Fire is a fiery-haired, half-woman/half-monster "creature." She's a skilled archer and blessed with the power to read and influence minds. Apparently Fire is also stunningly beautiful and able to manipulate men with just a glance. This power of manipulation is also a gift that her father had. The book takes place after he has been killed by one of the monsters that he kept as a "pet." This gives you just a hint into what type of person her was, to keep one of his own kind as an amusement. We are treated to a few flashblacks that familiarize us with Fire's father and the controversy surrounding his life (and death). Fire's greatest fear is that she will use her powers to control and hurt people as her father did.

The good: Great dialogue and deep plot. The conversations between characters are engaging and intelligent. The characters are believable. I mean, it's a feat to make you able to relate to a teenage, human/monster crossbreed that reads minds. But somehow Cashore manages. Also, the side love stories are not too sappy, but just enough to appeal to my girlishness.

The bad: The sketchy link between this book and Graceling. I kept waiting for that definite connection and it finally came in the form of a mysterious (and creepy) child named Leck. He plays a big role in Graceling. He comes into play in Fire only momentarily. I found myself disappointed and a little confused as to why he didn't have a bigger part in this book. I almost felt that she put his character in this book in order to claim that it's a companion to Graceling. If his character hadn't had that small "cameo," there would be little to link the two books.

The verdict: If you haven't read any young adult fiction and think that it not appeal to you, I'd suggest you give it a chance and pick up one of Cashore's books. I'm pretty sure that you will enjoy Fire, even if you aren't into fantasy writing or young adult literature.

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