I was worried about this book because Graceling was so strong and I just didn’t see how Cashore could follow it up, especially in such a short time frame. I was happily proved wrong. Fire, which is a sort of prequel to Graceling, follows Fire, a monster child in the kingdom of the Dells. Daughter of the adviser to the former king, she must grapple with her father’s history as well as her own. Very well done–if you liked Graceling, don’t be hesitant to read this!
As I noted above, Graceling is wonderful. So I was admittedly nervous about this prequel. Sometimes books manage to have sequels/prequels which are just as good, but I have to admit that I find this the exception rather than the rule. I should have trusted Cashore, because she delivered a wonderful book which I enjoyed every bit as much as (and maybe even a bit more than) Graceling. As with Graceling, note that there are some slightly disturbing backgrounds for several of the characters. (Jan 2010)