Oh, this book. It was quieter than GRACELING, with less action, but I loved it just the same. This novel is set before Graceling and in a different part of the Seven Kingdoms, where monster beasts exist within many animal races. Fire is the last human monster. She is feared but lusted after, and she has learned to not trust men. While not “graced” like Katsa, she has the ability to “speak” to humans, using her monster powers to bend their will or get truthful answers. She keeps this power sedated though, believing it is unjust of her to “steal” from the minds of unassuming people.
But much like Katsa, Fire decides to use her powers for good when circumstances permit and she joins forces with the king in an attempt to uncover a plot to overthrow him. The dynamics between characters throughout this novel was fantastic. People are caught between intense hate and love for Fire, which always puts her at risk. The one man who seems to be able to control himself in her presence is Prince Brigan, and the secret behind this comes to the surface in a satisfyingly slow reveal. The romance that blossoms in this book is slow as well, a steady thing that grows after months of friendship and trust and honesty. It was so different than Katsa and Po, but while not as fierce, it was equally convincing.
Cashore is an incredible storyteller, graced with a seemingly endless supply of creativity. I am so anxious to get my hands on BITTERBLUE. In a way, I feel lucky for not discovering these books until this year because now I only have a few months to wait before returning to the world of the Seven Kingdoms. How have you other readers managed these last three years?
Originally reviewed here