Before Blogging, that is. In between my new reviews, I thought I could post about some books I’ve enjoyed reading recently, before I started this blog. I might not remember every teensy detail, but I can remember why I liked them so much.
Fire by Kristin Cashore
I get the feeling this is an unpopular opinion, but I loved Fire way more than Graceling. I’d heard about Graceling and been anticipating it long before it was released, so my expectations were pretty high. I enjoyed it until about two-thirds of the way through, but certain plot developments I just found silly and the villain didn’t work for me. I did love the characters, though: Katsa, Po and Bitterblue. Anyway, having been slightly disappointed with Graceling, my expectations weren’t so high for Fire, so imagine my pleasure when I enjoyed it so much. And here’s why:
- The romance between Fire and Brigan. I don’t always get into romances in novels, because the most popular pairings tend to be bad boy/good girl, while I prefer good boy/bad girl, which almost never happens (and my absolute favourite is bad boy/bad girl, which is rarer still and I can’t think of any other than Rhett and Scarlett and TV’s Chuck and Blair). Fire and Brigan aren’t technically good boy/bad girl because they’re both decent people, but they’re close enough, as everybody thinks Fire is a manipulative she-witch and Brigan is a brave, noble soldier and prince. The hint/appearance of wrongness is enough for me.
- The relationship between Fire and Archer. Part of what makes Fire a quasi-bad girl. It’s so twisted – they’re like brother and sister and yet they sleep together. Their moments in the book vary between sweet and disturbing.
- The character of Archer. I can’t help it; I love a no-good manslut.
- The family history and backstory. I love stories like these, where the characters have a history that spans generations. My favourite part of Harry Potter was the backstory of the Marauders and Snape and Lily and everybody. And my favourite part of Fire was the past drama between the parents and grandparents – it just gives it that sense of epic.
- The trashy aspect. Another thing I can’t help – I embrace the trashy. How can I, who’s loved everything from Dallas to Melrose Place to Gossip Girl, not appreciate it when Fire has illegitimate children springing up from all over and two women impregnated by the same guy simultaneously? When a story has magical kingdoms, fantastical creatures, sword battles and throws in baby mama drama, that’s when I’m completely sold.
- The physical descriptions of the monsters sound visually stunning. Humans and animals in colours of gold, purple and turquoise just sounds gorgeous to me.
- Fire’s weakness becomes a strength. So often in fantasy literature, a strong, female character is one who is physically strong and her fighting skills make her equal to any man. Don’t get me wrong; I love and appreciate characters like that; I’m a Buffy fan, after all. But I thought Cashore did something very interesting with Fire, in that Fire has all the disadvantages a woman could possibly have, increased tenfold because of her fantastical nature. Fire is a target for other people’s hate, lust and jealousy and she has little physical strength. But she learns to use what she does have, to help herself and to help others. Fire can’t beat up a man with her bare hands, but that doesn’t mean she’s useless. The scenes of Fire training and stretching her mental abilities are to me, just as ass-kicking as actual, well, ass-kicking would be.
So those are my reasons for loving Cashore’s second book. It’s not perfect - I’m still not really feeling Leck as a villain - but it's a damn good read.