Fire Kristin Cashore Book Review

“You are neither my husband nor my father; I am a woman of seventeen, I have my own horses and my own money, and I decide for myself where I go and when. This is not yours to forbid.”

pg. 59

Want to see an author make herself distinguished? Have them write two books set in the same world, different times and tell a completely different story. Fire by Kristin Cashore manages to breathe new life into The Dells and is a prequel to Graceling. I love that Fire does not recycle the plot line of Graceling – rather the title character Fire blazes a trail completely different from Katsa.

Fire, Seven Kingdoms, Kristan Cashore, Book Cover

Fire

“A life that was an apology for the life of his father: It was a notion she could understand, beyond words and thought. She understood it the way she understood music.”

-pg. 83

The Dells are a strange land next to the Seven Kingdoms where monsters roam. Monsters are strangely colored (pink, etc) animals or people who control the will of others. Fire is a human monster. The royal family approaches Fire for help in the inevitable war because she can enter people’s minds — therefore she can function as a lie detector. Fire then begins to bond very strongly with Prince Brigan, who is the army commander.

Love doesn’t measure that way, she thought to him. And you may blame me for your feelings, but it isn’t fair to blame me for how you’ve chosen to behave.

-pg. 127

What I personally enjoy about Fire and Cashore’s writing is how much feminist theory makes an appearance. I am not an expert by any means (I only took intro to women’s studies) but I recognize basic tenets when I see them. I.e. Fire is a human monster- meaning when men and some women see her rainbow colored hair, they fall into lust with her and turn her into a sex object. We see that being the object of male gaze is no walk in the park – it’s very uncomfortable especially because Fire wants to be valued for her personality.

“If we one a person was going to die, we’d hold harder to the memories.”

-pg. 161

Fire by Kristin Cashore is sex-positive. We get to hear about characters engaging in responsible sex using BIRTH CONTROL. (You would be surprised at how hard of a concept birth control is to some people). ALSO, the consequences of unprotected sex. Fire is not shamed or called a slut or anything because she has sex outside of a committed relationship. I like this. And I realize people will disagree, which is FINE – I, however, personally like examples of responsible sex that does not conflate sex with love.

FINALLY, slow burn sexy love occurs in Fire by Kristin Cashore. I mean, I feel young adult fictional relationships are much more melty when the author takes more than five pages to develop the relationship. There is something to be said for developing feelings and emotions and reading the growing attraction. It’s very toe-curling and the way Cashore shows relationships is quite unconventional. Y’all I cannot freaking wait for Bitterblue which releases May 1, 2012.

Disclosure: Secret Santa copy.

Other reviews of Fire by Kristin Cashore:

The Book Swarm
Lisa Is Busy Nerding
One More Page

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. Yay, so glad you enjoyed this. I loved Fire just as much as Graceling even though the writing is very different in both. Kristin Cashore writes beautiful novels, I can’t get enough of them. I’m really excited for Bitterblue, I feel like I’ve been waiting for YEARS for that to come out.

    • I hear ya. I remember finishing Graceling and immediately looking to see if there was more. Then I remember when Fire came out and waiting obviously until 2012 to read it. BUT YES I am so psyched for Bitterblue!

  2. Well said, lady. Well said. I need to go back and reread these books. Or you know, I’m just searching for reasons to buy them. I think you brought up some really pertinent points about responsible sex and the fact that she can act on her desires without having the whole slut label attached to her. I was pleasantly surprised by how proactive the protag was in Crave by Melinda Metz et al. too. Yay for girl power and assertiveness.

    • Thank you, Nafiza. That really means a lot coming from you.

      I love that Fire is so sex-positive. ALSO Crave never even crossed my mind to read, but now I definitely want to check it out, so thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I’m pretty certain that this review just shoved me towards my bookshelf where Graceling has been sitting for several weeks… not necessarily because I’m all the more eager to read Graceling but because I seriously want to READ THIS BOOK! Great review, as always!

  4. I loved Fire! Though Graceling will always remain my favorite (so far, we’ll see what happens after Bitterblue), Fire was an incredible story 🙂

  5. I feel like dancing because you finally read this book.
    For the record, I have my own horses and my own money too, but my name is nowhere as cool as Fire.

    And heck yes to a daggum slow burn. Yes. Me likey.

    I swear, I freaking love the Seven Kingdoms. If Kristin Cashore wanted to write twenty books in this series, I’d read all of them with a huge goofy grin on my face and love it the entire time. BOOK LOVE right here.

    • I shall join in that dance party!

      UM, I did not know you had horses. That totally ratchets up your cool factor. I mean, you are already cool, but that puts it up to 11.

      And word, if there were 20 books I would have that SAME GOOFY GRIN!

  6. I find the myriad responses to these two books endlessly fascinating. And, yes, not a little frustrating when people don’t get them the way I want them to or the way I did or the way I feel deep in my bones they deserve. But I really believe there’s no two ways about it–Kristin Cashore is genius when it comes to her craft and that is fully proved by the wildly passionate responses to her books on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between.

    As for me, I think FIRE is a perfect book in every way and I will never get over her as a character and her relationships with those around her.

    • ME TOO! I mean, I notice some people either love them or hate them — especially because of all of the sex stuff.

      And sigh, I am totally with you on Fire. It is perfect and I loved how perfectly drawn as a character Fire is, how she starts lonely and vulnerable, but really opens up.

      AND BRIGAN. He is my favorite too.

  7. Please my apology ahead of time.. but there will be no pube talk in this comment. lol

    I ready Graceling, my gosh it must have been years ago. I really liked it. I never picked up Fire though. I forget who, but someone said I probably woudln’t like it because it didnt follow the same people Graceling did. So its just sat on my goodreads list since then. I’ve been meaning to request it from the libarary since all the buzz about Bitterblue has been going around. This review ensures me lazy ass is going to do it.

    “(You would be surprised at how hard of a concept birth control is to some people). ALSO, the consequences of unprotected sex. ” <——— this! so true, you are awesome. It's not that difficult. Protect your junk, people!

    "Fire is not shamed or called a slut or anything because she has sex outside of a committed relationship." <— This is so important. Sex and Love are two totally different things. They go together wonderfully, but they don't need the other to exist.. That's prerfectly acceptable to me.. So I agree with you. 🙂

    Yay for slow burn sexy love.. so looking foward to this one now.

    • lulz!

      Oh no. You better read Fire. I promise you will be down for it. And idk, I hate when people tell you to discount companion novels just because they don’t follow the same characters. I totally love companion books.

      AND YES! I am so glad I am a sort of PUSH into requesting Fire from the library (and also using the library, because they rock).

      And sigh, protecting your junk. I have a step relative who clearly didn’t understand that concept and now has a kid when she is just a kid herself. Sigh.

      And slow burn sexy love is absolutely the best EVER!

  8. I read Graceling WAAAAAY back in yesteryear like 2009 and had not much desire to read this when I heard about it because DAMNIT, it’s not Katsa and Po. BUT. This sounds incredible. So I may have to toss that stubbornness to the curb and give in.

    • Dude you better check yo self before you wreck yo self. LOLOL I am kidding. Stop being so stubborn, FIRE is awesome. And I know how you like slow burns and swoons and kissing so um FIRE IS YOUR JAM YOU BEST READ IT SOON!

  9. Holy cow, this woman can write. The world she created is magically delicious. And I totally agree with you on the yay-for-not-sex-shaming! We need more positive examples like this. Can’t wait for Bitterblue!

  10. I can’t wait to read Cashore’s novels. I’m currently on a wait list for Graceling at the library and I cannot wait.

    Another author who does this well is Tamora Pierce.

    • I’ve only read Alanna by T-Pierce. (her rap name). And yo, I have a few Tamora Pierce books kicking around here, so I need to get on that soon, because like you said, she does that well and is totally up my alley!

  11. I loved this one so much – I LOVED Brigan and I loved the story. And you are just going to LOVE Bitterblue, such a great book 🙂

  12. I’m reading this now and LOVING it!! For some reason I couldn’t get into it when I first started back when it came out, and I’m glad I hung on to it. It’s such a fabulous story.

    • I’m so glad to hear that you are loving FIRE. I’ve had the same experience with books, occasionally I am unable to get into them immediately, but then I try them at the right point in my life and just completely click with it!

  13. I loved this book so much! I put off reading it forever, because I was annoyed that Katsa wouldn’t be it. But when I finally sat down and read it, it was so good! One of my all-time favorites.

    • Awww, it makes me sad to hear that people have put off or were turned off by FIRE not having Katsa in it, because it is such a fantastic story.

      At least you did eventually sit down to read FIRE. That;s so wonderful that you loved FIRE so much 😀

  14. This book is just…incredible. I loved it even more than Graceling (and I loved Graceling a lot). I’m hoping to reread them before Bitterblue comes out and your review made me even more excited.

  15. I came from Twitter to comment, lol. Great review! I really need to get on reading these books. I’m so far behind on so many wonderful series!

  16. Nice review! I did find that I struggled with reading about Fire’s birth control decisions, but I didn’t mind the relationships in the book. One brought me out of the story and stopped my enjoyment of the world, and the other seemed to be a natural continuation of the story. But hey, everyone reads books differently.

    In the third paragraph, I think you may mean ‘tenets’ rather than ‘tenants.’ Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you! Noted and corrected 😀

      I can understand struggling with her birth control decisions. It’s hard to read about those bits especially seeing how she got sick.
      And yes, I agree that every does read books differently and we all come to the table with a different perspective.

  17. I can’t believe I never commented on this one! My bad. Because I LOVED Fire like I love a warm cinnamon bun slathered in cream cheese frosting. (Obviously I am hungry right now.) It’s been awhile since I read Fire, but I always love how Kristin Cashore’s female characters have such modern sensibilities about femininity. They don’t want to get married because, well, they just don’t want to. They use birth control. They make their own choices. It’s so satisfying to read women in fantasy like that because they’re so rare. Thankfully, too, Kristin Cashore’s ladies are some of the best characters IN GENERAL. I need to reread her books! Get my game face on for Bitterblue. Woot!

    • Oh that sounds totally delicious.

      ALSO I love how modern they are about femininity. I love that they take birth control and make their own choices and everything. AND OMG I AM SO EXCITED FOR BITTERBLUE. GAME FACE OVER HERE!

  18. I want to read this series. I have it in my TBR, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

  19. Saw your note on Twitter about needing 50 comments. What happens at 50 comments, exactly? Anyways, I’m happy to comment because I think I’ve found a book I want to read based on your review! I like that it’s a companion novel. Does that mean I don’t need to read Graceling first to enjoy it?

    • Ha ha, nothing exciting happens at 50 comments, I just like the way the round number looks.

      Because it’s a companion novel, you don’t NEED to read Graceling first, but I think reading Graceling first will enhance your enjoyment.

  20. Oh my stars how I love this book. I think it’s my favorite of the three. After reading your review I feel the need to re-read it. So happy you liked it!

  21. Haha. I totally missed this when I left my last comment.
    I’m glad to read that you liked Fire.
    I will definitely start reading it soon!
    All Fantasy Reviews recently posted..Losing Fantasy virginity to The Twilight SagaMy Profile

  22. This is why Kristin Cashore is my favorite. I love how she lets her characters really enjoy sex in a responsible, mature way.

    I am quite jealous of the 100% effective birth control herbs. Why don’t we have those?
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted..Killing in the Name – Rage Against the MachineMy Profile

  23. I haven’t read this yet, but everything everyone says is glowing. 🙂

  24. Interesting take on the birth control aspect. I didn’t even realize this before you mentioned it. Although I have to say: I liked Graceling better…

  25. “Fire by Kristin Cashore is sex-positive. We get to hear about characters engaging in responsible sex using BIRTH CONTROL.”

    Yes, absolutely! That was one of my favorite things about this book. It wasn’t all about abstinence or have sex with whoever you want. I thought it was very well written and explained the consequences of how having sex without birth control can affect your life.

  26. I agree, slow burn is just so much more satisfying.

  27. Vivien says:

    I absolutely LOVED this book. I enjoyed it more than Graceling. I think it had to do with Fire. Her tenacity was just astounding!! The monsters were great too!

  28. Another reason why I love Kristin’s writing is that the relationships in her books develop beautifully and not in a sort of rush or lovestruck thing.

  29. Amazing review 🙂 I adored Fire. <3 Love the quotes 😀 I loved the romance in this book, but I do wish it had been more and a tiny bit faster.. but still, it was so so good 🙂 I'm glad you loved it 😀 Everyone should read these books.

  30. Thank you for this great review! I’ve had book “lust” for this trilogy it seems like forever. I might just have to justify a splurge 🙂

  31. Rebecca Hipworth says:

    I can’t wait to read this 🙂

  32. I loved the complexities of Fire, which in my opinion made it so much better for me than Graceling. Don’t get me wrong I loved Graceling, but fire had more meat to it, and yes in some ways was more controversial. Cashore is definitely a talented author. Thank you for the review!

  33. Hm, this ones sunds interesting! Looking forward to finally diving into this series.

  34. Jennifer Vu says:

    Amazing review for an amazing book!
    I really liked the different approach Fire had than Graceling towards this world!

  35. Although, I think Graceling is more superior than Fire, I still enjoyed. It has its moments and I really love Fire and Brigan together. 🙂

  36. Loved your review. I have read Fire but I actually didn’t like it as much as I liked Graceling. I think mostly because I loved Katsa and she obviously wasn’t present in Fire. But your review has me thinking I should read it again!

  37. After reading this review, I want to read the book. It’s a good thing I have it on my kindle. Seriously, it sounds awesome! Thanks for a great review!

  38. Genevieve says:

    Fire was AMAZING. I have actually given it as a gift to a few people. I really, really liked it. It was SO different from Graceling but amazing!

  39. Cris Evert says:

    Fire is one of my favorite books! I loved Graceling but I loved Fire even more. I remember feeling torn if I should finish reading the book immediately or prolong every second of it.

  40. stacie puett says:

    what a great 2nd book, it kept me guessing and was glad again that this series of books has so much possitave girl power.

  41. Dovile says:

    I’m still waiting to get my copy, and I love the quote from p. 59!

  42. Rebecca says:

    I’m glad the sequel didn’t disappoint you!

  43. great review, i can’t wait to read this book:)

  44. I was so sure that I was not going to like Fire anywhere NEAR as much as I love Graceling, but I WAS SO WRONG. She’s an amazing heroine in her own right

  45. The teasers are so cool, and so is the cover

  46. This is interesting. Something different. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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