Sunday, June 16, 2013

Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Synopsis: 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. The is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of Flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability. 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. (from the back of the book)

Review: I read this because Graceling was fabulous. This was good, but not as good. I never connect to the main character, Fire, as I did to Katsa. The romance was sweet, but predictable. However, there was several plot twists that were not predictable, and one that caught me off-guard. Added to the love triangle, Fire's struggle with motherhood and her grief - all made for an emotionally satisfying story. My only complaint was too many twisted family connections and "big reveals" about family connections that, after a while, seemed mildly ridiculous.
In the end, while this wasn't as good as Graceling, I am glad I purchased and read this book and I would recommend it to others.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2010), Cybils Awards Winner, Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books of 2009, Washington Post Best Kid's Book of The Year, Seattle Times Best YA Book of 2009, School Library Journal Best Books of 2009

Date Finished: 6-11-2013
Pages: 461

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Synopsis:  In a world where people are born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, the Kin of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po's friend. She never expects to learn the new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far way - a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. (from the back of the book)

Review: I purchased this after reading several favorable reviews. And I was not disappointed. With simple, stark prose, Cashore tells a story full of emotion and depth. Her characters are complex, with real flaws and fears and strengths. Her villain actually scared me. The plot twists, aside from one, were unexpected - and one actually made me gasp. I was easily lost in her world, traveling with her characters as they grew and changed.
The highest praise I can say about this is that not 5 minutes after finishing, I ordered her other two books.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year for 2008

Date Finished: 6/9/2013
Pages: 471