Publication Date: September 24th, 2009
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy
Series Status: Graceling Realm #2
Format and Source: Paperback, Owned
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.
This book is the prequel to Graceling, in which we do meet one of the antagonists in, and learn of his life before the happenings in Graceling. This way of introducing this character was done superbly, and I definitely enjoyed how he was entangled in Fire’s story too.
Another aspect I like in this book is Fire’s hatred towards her beauty, and her struggle with herself. Though she may be beautiful, she certainly isn’t perfect, and has many issues, not all of which she overcomes, but she does come to terms with them. I feel like this makes her character more realistic, in the same way that her father’s almost psychotic love of his beauty and power seemed believable too. If someone was to be like them, they would probably feel similar to either Fire or her father. There is also romance in this book, but it definitely isn’t the central point, and is only something that is on the sidelines whilst all the big plots happen.
I did also enjoy the characters, and character development, but – and this is just something that I feel personally – I feel like the main romantic interest in this book is slightly two dimensional. Not so much so that you find him dull, but enough to feel as if he couldn’t be real. This is one of the reasons this books has four stars instead of five.
Another reason is the fact that the writing style, whilst eloquent and definitely got the job done, for me it did not seem all that special. I am being nitpicky, but that’s only because that is one thing I do enjoy in books. I like seeing how the writing style crafts the characters and I want to be able to remember it. For example I remember Douglas Adams’ wit, and John Green’s teenage-like bluntness interwoven with strange, but accurate, metaphors. With this book, whilst the characters were, overall, portrayed well, I feel something was lacking in the writing. It seemed too average, and normal to me. But this is just me.
Overall this was a good read, and is definitely recommended, especially to any of those who like powerful female protagonists.