Publisher: Dial Books
Series: Companion to Graceling
Fire is the last human monster in the Dells. Everyone who sees her either views her with dangerous envy, or equally dangerous admiration. Furthermore, she can control people's minds, not that she would ever want to. Not when her father destroyed so many lives by doing so. And yet, she may have to use her powers to save her kingdom. Everything is at stake, including her heart.
Fans of Graceling will be glad to know that Fire is another strong, intelligent protagonist, but with a very distinctive personality from Katsa. She's a monster struggling with her humanity, and the depth of her emotions comes across clearly. And of course, the entire idea of monsters that are so beautiful that they manipulate emotions and can even control minds is brilliant. Altogether, the world building is simply fantastic; even though I'm writing this review weeks after reading the book, I can still picture everything vividly in my mind. And, as always, Cashore manages to make the politics convoluted, interesting, and suspenseful as the kingdom prepares for war.
And this leads me to Prince Brigan, who leads the king's army. The relationship between Fire and Brigan is built so naturally and beautifully. I adored Brigan and how he grew from the start of the novel to the end, and even though Fire doesn't focus on the romantic arc as much as Graceling did, I was still fully invested in their relationship. All of the characters, honestly, are so well fleshed-out, and even characters that have the most aggravating flaws have redeemable qualities, too. (And yes, I'm talking about Archer.) Above all, characterizations is where Cashore excels. (Not that all the other areas in her books aren't amazing because, believe me, they completely are.)
Basically, if you loved Graceling, you won't be disappointed by Fire. In fact, you'll even get to see some familiar characters, which involves a bit of very interesting back story. (;
You'll like this if you liked these: Piratica by Tanith Lee, The Beka Cooper trilogy by Tamora Pierce, Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner
Do you like companion novels? Or do you prefer sequels?