[A quick note: This is the second book in the Graceling Series. Once again, I’ve got to take a moment to admire my Fairyloot set because the foil and detail and matching covers are just…chefs kiss. Beautiful. I also want to mention that I temporarily abandoned my regularly scheduled TBR to read this book because I was so eager to read more from Kristin Cashore after finishing Graceling. Despite loving this book SO MUCH, I will now be resuming my TBR and potentially read the third in August. I have some obligatory reviews for ARCs to take care of first.]
💫“𝗜𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗵𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗲, 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗲𝗱, 𝗮 𝗰𝗿𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁. 𝗔𝘀 𝗮𝘀𝗵 𝗿𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘀𝗸𝘆, 𝗙𝗶𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝗳𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗮𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘆 𝗯𝗲𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗮𝘆 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱𝗯𝘆𝗲.”—Kristin Cashore
Fire is the last of her kind, the last human monster, living in the Dells. Her beauty is unmatched. Her ability to control minds, unparalleled. Elsewhere in the kingdom, young King Nash is clinging to the throne. War is imminent. Spies are everywhere, especially in the mountains where Fire lives. When one tries to kill her, her path brings her to King Nash and his brother Prince Brigan. Brigan is not what she expected. First and foremost a love story, Fire’s abilities will be tested. Will her monstrousness be enough to save the kingdom and win the war?
As a companion novel to Graceling, this story was WONDERFUL. It definitely has a slightly different feel to Graceling. I enjoyed it just a tad more, too. The world building, the presentation of ideas, the political intrigue, and Fire’s personal struggle were all beautiful. I love a book that focuses just as much on plot as it does character development. I love watching characters grow, and learn, and fight with their own inner demons. You get plenty of that here! Imperfection is perfection!
💫“𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗜 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝗮𝘄 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝗺𝗮𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗲. 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝗮𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗲. 𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁? 𝗜 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝘁. 𝗜𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲𝘀 𝗺𝘆 𝗼𝘄𝗻𝘀𝗮𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴.”—Kristin Cashore
The enemies-to-lovers vibe was great! Though, this is very much a YA. You know my smutty heart always wants some spice. Sigh. Too bad it wasn’t a New Adult. But the banter and dialogue and relationship between Fire and Brigan was still quite satisfying. I gobbled up every word, giddy each scene they had together. I came to love their quiet moments, and the way they grew towards each other. The way they grew to understand each other. It was…sigh…so sweet.
I loved the world Cashore built, morphing away from the one we came to understand in Graceling by taking us to a different part of the map. In the Dells, animals come in vivid bright colors that make them monstrous. They snare their victims with their minds and beauty. But none are more dangerous or beautiful than human monsters. Fire is the last of her kind. A human monster. With hair the color of sunsets. And she carries with her the guilt of having a monstrous father who nearly destroyed the kingdom. But she is determined to be different from him. And she carries a secret that most would praise her for.
The plot and presentation of ideas was EXCELLENT! There are quite a few secrets from the past. We don’t discover them immediately. They are sprinkled through the story. And I began to have my suspicions, but was quite impressed with how Cashore handled them. This was something I greatly appreciated about the writing. Everything was woven intricately for a YA, with a good level of political intrigue and political history to drive things.
As far as YA fantasy goes, this book was a slam dunk. Whenever I’m rating a book that has 5 star potential, I always consider my experience while reading it. Was it un-put-down-able? Was it addictive? Was I thinking about it for long periods while going about my day? Yes, yes, yes. In this case it was all of those things! 𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟱/𝟱⭐️