AUTHOR: Kristin Cashore
PUBLISHER: Dial Books
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ (3/5)
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
I am almost at a loss at what to say about this book. I really love the world, the Graceling Realm, but there are aspects of the book that just sort of ruin the experience for me a bit. I liked the main character, Fire better than Katsa from Graceling. Where I found Katsa very broody and stubborn, I found Fire to be more interesting and her character had a lot more in terms of personal growth (though certainly just as broody at times). When she started to feel upset about taking herbs that made her unable to become pregnant, and then later was having regrets about it, I felt like that was a big moment of growth for her character. There was a lot of mentions to Fire’s menstrual bleeding that I felt was unnecessary. Though I understand the context as to why it was included, it just felt excessive to me after a time. The monsters and their array of colors was somewhat interesting, but also felt a little cheesy to me. I can’t completely complain about that though, I think it’s very hard to develop a fantasy world where there is something that doesn’t seem at least a little bit far fetched or
‘cheesy”. There was also a lot of sleeping around done by all the characters, which is not an unrealistic plot but got pretty ridiculous, especially when there was that huge awkward love triangle between Fire’s guard, Archer, and the princess, where everyone ends up pregnant.
The last thing that really irritated me was the mention of hospitals. Now truth be told, I know very little of hospital/medical history. However, though I have no doubts that people were performing experiments and learning surgical procedures, I very much doubt that in this era, medical facilities were called hospitals. Correct me if I’m wrong, please do, but every time the word ‘hospital’, it almost pulled me out of the idea of the world Cashore had built.
Okay, so maybe I had more than a couple of complaints, but putting all of that aside, the story itself was not disappointing. I appreciated the moral debate Fire struggled with when face to face with her powers. I was extremely proud of her character when she chose to overcome the idea that she was not her father and she could stop thinking of herself as this terrible person. I loved Brigan’s character. His character wasn’t perfect, but that made him more realistic to me and I was pleased with the way that his character progressed. The story itself had an air of mystery, you were constantly trying to figure out how everything was connected, and ultimately I was kept entertained.
I will read Bitterblue, I already have it in my possession, and I really hope that this one will warrant less of my judgement!