Cashore, Kristin. Fire. New York: Dial Books, 2009.
Fire is a fantasy young adult novel, based in a place called the Dells. Fire is a monster, a human monster, or at least that is what the people of the Dells call her. Her hair is so red, with so many different highlights, that it literally resembles Fire. Oh, and she can read and change people’s minds. She is also the last of her kind. Fire is an extraordinary character. She is both perfect and completely flawed all at once. The one flaw with this book is that although Fire is technically a teenager, 17/18 at the beginning of the book, due to her personal experiences, she seems a lot older than that, and while some teenagers may be able to relate to this, this puts the book on the borderline for YA. However, this does open the book up to a much wider audience. It is something that both young adults and adults can enjoy. Also, while being fantasy, this book is so compelling; one tends to forget that this isn’t a real place Afterall. Fire truly struggles with the responsibilities of her gift, can she really use it for good without destroying herself, and while teens normally don’t face something as drastic, there are times when we all wonder if the talents we have can truly make our world better without destroying a piece of ourselves.
Character wise, Fire is the best developed. Cashore reveals Fire piece by piece. One doesn’t really know that she is responsible for what happened to her father until the last half of the book, although it is suggested. Cashore uses foreshadowing very well in this way. She allows Fire to unfold as the book progresses. The plot line moves very fast and a lot of things happen in very few pages. While being well paced and quick, at the end one is left wanting more and as of right now there isn’t anymore. This particular book is actually a companion book to Cashore’s first novel, Graceling. While complementing each other well, they both leave you feeling like the story isn’t over yet. This lends a new dynamic to the idea of what makes a serial (especially when one considers that Cashore is currently working on another book that will be a companion to these two, not an addition to a series). While every book could probably be continued if an author felt compelled to do so, this particular companion really doesn’t feel like a stand-alone novel.