Insanity + Book Review: Fire

Sep
18
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

I may be insane. If I’m not already, I will be by the time the end of the semester rolls around.

About a month ago, my dad received an email about a conference in Germany about film music. The focus is “Children’s music vs Child-like music” and the relation to adults, with the added aspect of film. I just happened to have a paper already written that almost fit the prompt, so I tweaked the topic a bit, put an abstract together, and sent it off just to see – I’ve never sent a paper to a conference before, so I honestly didn’t know whether it was likely to get accepted or not.

The good news? I’ve been accepted. OMG, I’m going to Germany over Thanksgiving break!!! The bad news? There is a good chance of me going insane between now and then. Not only do I have to finish writing the paper (they’ve asked me for double the time plus video clips), I now have to pretty much finish all my final projects for school AND put together all my graduate auditions before I leave. That said… well sorry guys, but my posts may get rather sporadic. I’ll try my best, but honestly, there’s only so many hours in a day.

But, for a little while anyways, I’ve got a backlog of reviews, so hopefully I won’t be too busy to at least type those up for your reading pleasure =D

So!

Fire Fire by
Series: Graceling Realm #2
Published by in 2009
Genres: ,
Pages: 580
Source:
Goodreads

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild irresistible appearance and hair the colour of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City. The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

Review:

Have you ever read one of those books that you’ve just loved but weren’t sure why? I mean, I pretty much knew I was going to love this one because I loved Graceling but still. I flew through this one (as best I could between classes) and didn’t even stop to take notes or anything. Not so helpful for writing reviews, but man was it refreshing!

One of the things I did notice is despite the YA label, Cashore does not treat this as a YA novel. If this were a Harry Potter novel, the publisher could probably just slap a different cover on it and sell it as a regular adult fantasy novel, and it would do just as well. This is because Cashore doesn’t shy away from the big issues. It’s very obvious from the beginning that Archer and Fire are more than friends, but less than dating, and Archer’s tendency to sleep with anything that wears a skirt is not hidden. Several times Brigan comes home beaten and bruised from the war, and is described in detail that made even my stomach turn. And quite frankly, the main issue of the novel – whether or not it is morally right to read someone’s mind and from that influence them into doing something, even when they are an enemy and the only way to save many people from dying is to do so – is not a kid’s issue. It brings up issues that adults and teens face every day, and it doesn’t give a real solution. The right to privacy is a huge issue, especially with our modern technology, and teens are subject to the issue just as much as adults.

Then, of course, I have to mention the negatives as well. The main thing I didn’t like about this novel is the ending. It’s just too pat for me. It happens too quickly, almost like she had been given a page count to hit and was starting to run out, so she just decided to end the novel as quickly as possible. There were so many things unaddressed, and not just cliff-hanger type things – major plot points! (I should probably say here, that I’m mostly going on my memory of the book – if the major plot points were addressed it was solely as a “oh and by the way…” type thing.) It was as if half way through the book, the fact that they were on the brink of war stopped being a necessary impetus for Fire’s actions and therefore she ignored it and let it fade into the background. If you’re going to write something, then finish it! If you go over your page limit, so what?! If your publishers will only publish it as an Adult novel, I say go for it! Cashore’s story is good enough that it could easily get a good audience in the adult genre, and then I wouldn’t feel so much like I was left hanging.

Wow, that makes it sound like I hated the book. I didn’t, I promise. I really did love it, though perhaps not as much as Graceling, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone, not just the YA audience it was intended for. Just be forewarned – don’t get so involved in it that when she switches focus you can’t follow. I did, and I think my reading suffered for it.

Upcoming reviews:
The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book by Jaspar Fforde
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins





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