Fire by Kristin Cashore (The Seven Kingdoms 2)

Fire is a free standing prequel to Kristin Cashore’s debute novel Graceling.

Set in a world of stunningly beautiful, exceptionally dangerous monsters, Fire is one of the most dangerous monsters of all – a human one. Marked out by her vivid red hair, she’s more than attractive. Fire is mesmerising.

But with this extraordinary beauty comes influence and power. People who are susceptible to her appeal will do anything for her attention, and for her affection. They will turn away from their families, their work, and their duties for her. They will forget their responsibilities to please her . . . and worse, crush nations, neglect kingdoms and abuse their power.

Aware of her power, and afraid of it, Fire lives in a corner of the world away from people, and away from temptation. Until the day comes when she is needed – a day when, for her king, she has to take a stand not only against his enemies, but also against herself . . .

The novel starts up a bit slow as the protagonist Fire search for her own way as she tries to come to grip with her own devastating powers.  She comes across as a real mensch. Much of what happens circles around her inner journey.

The characterizations are good, Fire’s inner struggle combined with a charming straight forwardness  makes her easy to love. Even the horses have real personalities, you have to love Small, her horse.

One interesting aspect with Fire is how she deals with her own beauty, she can’t even look herself in the mirror with out being affected.

Romance is an essential part in this kind of story and here it sneaks up on the main character, but we readers saw it from a mile away. It is charming and fits well into the storyline.

It falls a bit short in the world-building business. It is not as chiseled out as I would like. But that might be a purely personal issue. I am used to David Weber and the likes of him that are regularly accused of info dumping, like thats a bad thing.

Anyway, I enjoyed Fire a lot, and read it in one go.