Fire - Kristin Cashore Fire—A Graceling Companion Novel by Kristin Cashore
This is the second book I have read from Ms. Cashore and I can now say without hesitation that she is a truly and brilliantly talented author. Fire, a prequel companion novel to Graceling, is a tightly woven tapestry; the artistry with which it is composed is both tight and compelling. Ms Cashore has grown in her craft and the resulting piece is marvelous.
It begins with a child. In the Seven Kingdoms a Graceling—with the ability to control minds with his words—flees the law that all Gracelings are property of the crown. His father carries three-year old Immilker on the run and they fall through a mountain into another world. This is the Dells, and here there be monsters. Tho maybe none so dangerous as young Immilker who after killing his father for recognizing his Grace and thus outliving his usefulness, changes his name to Leck. And so in sixteen pages of prologue we move from the Seven Kingdoms into The Dells; and nothing is the same.
Here there be monsters. In The Dells there are many strange and wondrous things, but the most striking of these are monsters. Monsters are ordinary creatures, but in vivid colors and exceeding beauty, that are more dangerous, than their normal counterparts—also found in the Dells—and they crave both human and especially monster flesh. Fire, the last known human monster, must then be doubly careful to survive. This book is Fire’s story and it is a journey from the comfort of home into the ravages of war, from the fear of power to its embrace and from a lone woman to the center of a kingdom. In short it is an epic fantasy; and one done beautifully. As we progress through this book both the characters and world open up and are expressed with such vivid imagery that it is hard not to fall in love with the splendor of it all.
It is difficult for me not to compare this work to Graceling, Ms Cashore’s first book. While the writing has in some ways evolved to a tighter grasp of her craft I find that I am still more drawn to Graceling; I connected more to the plot and characters. Maybe this is due to my dislike of warfare or mayhap my impatience with court intrigue, both done incredibly well in Fire—to a point where I found them an important and engaging part of the book—but neither are particular favorites of mine. Which is the better book I leave up to the each reader, but I find myself happy that Bitterblue, the third companion novel, will take us back to the Seven Kingdoms. I can hardly wait to see what turmoil they are in after a few years.