Publication Date: September 24th 2009.
My rating: 5 stars.
She is the last of her kind... It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.
Wow just wow. After finishing Fire I feel as if someone has put a Harry Potter spell on me, I’m actually completely lost for words that this is like my fifth attempt at trying to write a coherent review. Graceling was a book which really stood out as one of my favourite reads last year, second books in a series normally fall flat for me, but Fire for me outshone Graceling by miles. I adored the setting of Graceling and the characters whose journey we got to experience, so with Fire I was expecting a continuation of the story from Graceling. So was a little disappointed when I realised this was not the case. Instead in Fire, the story was set in a whole another place entirely, with a fresh set of characters and around the time that Leck was growing up.
I fell in love with the small cities that Cashore had created almost immediately and the lifestyle Fire had found herself accustomed to. Fire could get into the minds of individuals and get a clear understanding of what they were thinking or feeling. Unless their minds were guarded off (as we got to find people like these later on). At first we didn’t really understand or know of Fire’s full capabilities, she grew up in a small place with her father like figure of Brocker and his son Archer. And those around them knew of Fire so had learned to deal with her appropriately. However not only could Fire could get into people’s minds, her beauty was always slightly overwhelming, that she had to keep her hair tied up constantly (a few stray hairs could have people in a frenzy over her , imagine what having her entire red, coppery hair on show could do). However this life that Fire was used to began to unravel when unknown men were found lurking near her house and also around the King’s city. Not only could Fire not get hold of their minds quickly enough to question who they were, but some were found dead before she could even do so. The King insisted because of Fire’s ability maybe she could come to a better understanding of exactly what was going on.
Fire’s relationship or even her perception amongst the King and his close family was not that great except for with the King’s mother. This is because of Fire’s father Castrel who’s similar to Fire in many ways, but who was even more of a monster. He had really never redeemed himself in the best light amongst the King’s family and so consequently the family were quick to make assumptions about Fire. We got bits throughout the story of exactly what Fire’s father was like, he did have Fire’s best interests at heart when he was around, but did at time go to extreme lengths to protect her (he married her best friend away to a far away town, so she could not see Fire again), but most importantly unlike Fire, he was cruel, and insufferable. Fire didn’t have one single bad bone in her body, so it was horrid having her mistreated very early on.
But I loved how once several characters began to give her a chance and put their guard down they began to understand Fire better. I appreciated how she became really close with her guard and the sweet gestures she had from people she didn’t know within the King’s army. I liked the time that Fire spent at home with Archer and Brocker, both were considerate characters. But I most enjoyed it when Fire got to spend time with the King’s family. There was quite a lot of interesting and shady characters which I enjoyed getting to know. A lot of these characters were quick to become favourites; I enjoyed Hana’s energy, Musa’s love and affection she showed for Fire, King Nash and his bumbling about, but most of all Brigan *sigh*. Brigan and a lot of these characters really did a come a long way in how they reacted towards Fire in the very beginning, a lot of this had to do with Brigan making sure Fire was attended to at best, but also ensuring nobody stepped out of line, Brigan was also quick to make people checked themselves if they did. Despite the serious tone of the book; with war against the King looming, unpredictable attacks and trying to keep Fire safe. There were great bits of humour scattered amongst the story. I hugely enjoyed the bickering scenes and banter amongst the King and his siblings we were able to experience, but also see how much affection and consideration the King’s family had for each other when things got tough.
Once again Cashore was brilliant in her story building, she was able to infuse this story with many clever and calculated scenes, and incorporate so much detail and richness to her story that I found myself wanting to be in this wonderful world for three solid days completely. Like with Graceling, Cashore did once again lead us to believe that everything would be okay, that my heart was dealt with several swift blows that I totally hadn’t for seen coming. I have just about forgiven Cashore for this because I’ve realised that books which totally toy with my feelings are ones which I end up enjoying the most.
Fire in my eyes is one of the best second books in a series that I have ever read. It was jam packed with tense scenes, wonderful characters and genius writing from Cashore. I will most likely be clinging onto Bitterblue until the end of the year having not wanting to say goodbye to this gorgeous series just yet.