Although this book takes place in the same world as Graceling, it contains only one person with a Grace. Instead, we delve into the fantastic world of monsters — beautiful, colorful creatures who also have a great deal of power. Fire is the last of her kind, a “human monster” — half-human, half-monster — whose name was chosen because of her beautiful hair in varying shades of red, orange, and pink. Much like Katsa (of Graceling), Fire is amazingly strong and fast. She is also musically gifted, can control people’s minds, and can incite an attack (by monsters or men alike) with the mere presence of her unnatural beauty.
The Kingdom of the Dells is on the verge of war, with multiple people planning to overthrow the king, and the royal family is hoping that Fire will help them to keep the king safe. Fire’s abilities make her the perfect ally, since she can easily extract information from enemy spies, but she has conflicting feelings about using her powers… even if it’s for good. Because her father, Cansrel, had used his powers to bring about so much pain and destruction, Fire feels guilty for merely being a “monster.”
There are so many layers to the story that it is difficult to explain without giving away too much. Cashore has a little something to offer for every reader — romance, mystery, suspense, humor and pain. I’m very confident that if you liked Graceling, you will want to read Fire too!