Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.
Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.
Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.
Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...
As much as I loved Cashore's Graceling it didn't stand a chance once I got my hands on Fire. Chasore switched gears and decided to make this installment more of a prequel to Graceling. We're taken out of the seven kingdoms and transported to another realm filled with monsters instead of gracelings.
Cashore brings up all types of monsters: raptors of brilliant colors to attract their prey with, blood thirsty leopards that are a sight to behold, but none so amazing as Fire. A human/monster girl in her teens who's beauty is unmatched. She bewitches both men and women with her looks and can enter their minds as well. Control is completely hers. But Fire (named because of her brilliant colored hair) doesn't want to hurt people or use her powers at all if given the choice. Her father was not a good man/monster and she is forever living in the memory of his wicked reputation.
Fire is approached by the royal family and asked to help them with an upcoming war. As hesitant as she is she still decides to try and erase her reputation. Prince Brigan (love him) and Fire start off to a rocky beginning. He doesn't trust her and Fire can't blame him. His brother the king is the polar opposite and tries everything in his power to get Fire to marry him ever chance he has. I adored the royal family as well as Fire's dear childhood friend Archer. Brigan made my top 10 list of favorite male leading characters and I couldn't get enough of his and Fire's interaction.
I loved everything about this book. The world, the characters, the excitement and surprises. It made me laugh, cry and want to read it again and again. I would love nothing more than to see more of these characters in future books.
I gave Fire (Seven Kingdoms #2) 5 shamrocks!!!!!