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Summary: Equally hated and adored, Fire — with her hair the color of flame — has the ability to control minds. She works very hard to guard her power, however, and is unwilling to steal secrets from innocent people. When Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, it is to help uncover the plot against the king. Now far away from home, Fire realizes that there’s more to her power than she first believed. Her power could save the kingdom. If only she weren’t scared of becoming the monster her father was… This is a prequel to Kristin Cashore's fantasy series Graceling.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 13 and Up; read yourself: 14 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: I really liked the main character, Fire. She was very … fiery — definitely one of the stronger females in the fantasy genre. I liked how this complemented Graceling. It is a companion novel, but does not follow the same characters. Even after falling in love with the characters from Graceling, Fire's characters have their own likability. Both books empower females and accurately depict the difficulties women face in reality. Even though I really liked her, Fire also got on my nerves at times. Other than this, the novel outdoes its predecessor in almost every way.
I would recommend this book for ages 14 and Up for general fantasy violence and sexual themes.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: With its strong female characters and a great story, readers (even those who may not be fantasy fans) are in for a treat. Fire stands on her own two feet - a unique offering for a series.
Cons: None, really. There are mature themes. Because you know your reader best, you'll know if/when this is a good match for them.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This would be a gift to anybody interested in fantasy, strong female protagonists and unique worlds.
Educational Themes: This is a book for recreational / fun reading. That said, there are several themes that surface and would be great conversation starters: sexism, choices and consequences, believing in yourself, et al.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, young adult series
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.