I’ve decided to start doing a bi-weekly book review post. So every other Friday I will review one of the books I’ve read. This way you will know when to expect a book review and I will have time to read things. If you want more book reviews, you can always check me out on GoodReads.
Fire is the second book in Kristin Cashore’s Seven Kingdoms Series. If you follow me on GoodReads (not to over plug GoodReads here or anything), you will know that while I liked the concept behind her first book in the series, Graceling, I was not blown away. I found Fire to be much more inspiring.
While the world in Fire is connected to the world in Graceling, they are separated by an impassible mountain. Because of this, there are differences in the worlds. Think Madagascar or the Galapagos Islands, full of their strange creatures almost like ones you would see elsewhere, but slightly different. That’s what the world in Fire is like. Similar, but different. And personally, I liked the world in Fire better. It was more fantastical. I also found the characters to be more engaging.
The main character, Fire, is a human monster, but monsters in this land are not scary. They are beautiful and can capture your attention without a bit of effort. It is their hunting strategy, a survival mechanism. Fire, because of her monster status, has spent her life hidden away in the woods. When the King summons Fire to the capital city, she goes, eager to see the city in which she was born and to show both the world and the attractive and intriguing Prince Brigan that she is not evil, despite the sins of her father. The book deals with issues of identity, belonging, and choosing your own path in life.
What I liked about this book
- The world building: As with the first book in the series, Cashore has created an engaging, complete world. When you start reading the book, you are instantly drawn into the world. I never once forgot where it was set.
- The characters: I found her characters to be engaging. They were not as complex as what you would find in a Victor Hugo novel, but they had some depth. Even the goofy, lovesick Archer who initially seemed a bit 1-dimensional proved to have some depth by the end of the book.
- The plot: The plot was engaging with a good amount of mystery. I thought her use of mystery was better than Graceling, showing her growth as a writer. There were still some things I figured before I was meant to, but the foreshadowing did not give too much away, which was my main complaint about Graceling.
- The prose: Cashore’s writing style is engaging and consistent.
Sex in YA
And so now this brings me to a somewhat grey area. Sex in YA books. There was a lot of sex in this book. There weren’t any descriptive sex scenes, but I felt like every character in the book was having sex. Cashore did use some of the sex scenes to bring up how sex leads to pregnancy and can lead to a broken heart, but most of the sex was pretty casual. I’m not quite sure what my feelings are on having this much sex in a book for teenagers. Certainly teens know about sex and a lot of them are having sex, but I wonder about the author’s responsibility when it comes to incorporating sex in YA. Should authors be concerned with the influence they may be having on teenagers with regards to having sex? Should YA even include sex? I don’t want to go into a long thing about sex in books for teens in this post, and I’m not going to. That topic could take up several blog post, but I thought it was worth mentioning. And speaking of blog posts on sex in YA, there was a good post over at kidlit.com on this subject just the other day.
So, to sum up Kritstin Cashore’s Fire, would I recommend this book? Yes. It’s an easy, fun read with engaging characters and wonderful world building. And keep an eye out for the 3rd book in the series, Bitterblue, coming out 2011.