Fire is a monster; a beautiful monster who ensnares peoples minds, who can make them think and do things. But she doesn’t like being the only human monster in the Dells. She doesn’t want to be like her father who enjoyed manipulating and hurting people. She likes living on her own with people she knows and trusts around her. Then she meets the king and his brother and everything changes. Suddenly she is needed at court to help find out who is spying for the realm’s enemies. She is embroiled in court politics and becomes part of the royal family and she finds herself falling in love with Prince Brigan. But can anyone truly love a monster?
As all of Kristin Cashore’s books this is a beautifully written story about a woman trying to find her place in the world. Fire is strong and independent and powerful, but she is also vulnerable because of her power. She really finds her place in this book through her acceptance of who she is and what she can do with her power. I love how Cashore explores the concept of power. Specifically in this book power over people and how different people use it. She contrasts three different uses of very similar powers: Fire, Leck and Cansrel. They all use their powers to manipulate the minds of people but in different ways; only Fire seems to want to use hers for good.
This is a wonderful prequel to Graceling and does help with the backstory of Leck who is a major character in that book and Bitterblue. I love the world building in these books and think Cashore is wonderful. I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with.