Published January 25, 2011
Audiobook from Library
Read by Xanthe Elbrick
Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.
Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story. -Goodreads
It has been so dang long since I listened to Fire but I absolutely adored this book. I even liked it more than Graceling and I loved that one. I love the direction that Cashore took with Fire. I love that Fire is a "monster." She is so unique and interesting and totally kickass. Katsa kicked butt in Graceling and Fire falls right in step with the awesomesauce but in a completely different way. She is not the fighter that Katsa is in Graceling but she has fire in her spirit and a determination to do what is right - sometimes regardless of the consequences.
Fire is the last human shaped monster in the Dells - a position that puts her in great danger but she never shies away from that danger - most of the time she sticks herself right in the middle of it - much to the dismay of everyone around her, especially Archer, her BFF. As the Dells, go to war - Fire is offered a unique opportunity to help them - one that she isn't sure she should take given all the history between the Dells and her father. There are a lot of side stories going on in Fire - all of them interesting and does well at pulling this prequel together with Graceling.
If you are looking for a love story in Fire, this might not be the book for you. Yes, there is a love interest - but it's not at the forefront of the story. Fire and Brigan's story takes a more cautious route - there is just so much history between the two characters that as much as you want them together you don't know how it could possibly work. There is a side interest as well - Fire's friend Archer is completely in love with her - even though she doesn't reciprocate the feelings in the same way.
Cashore does a great job of keeping the story moving, keeping it interesting, and keeping it real (as real as fantasy can be). I love that she brought Leck into the story as a boy - so we got his backstory and it made things very interesting.
Xanthe Elbrick is the reader of the audio and does a fantastic job. Graceling had a full cast for the audio, which was great, but there was something about the way Elbrick read the story that brought it to life. There are so many characters in Fire and she does a fantastic job of keeping them separated and allowing the reader to feel as though there is a full cast. Very very talented lady!
Fire was a fantastic listen and I HIGHLY recommend the audio.