Genre: YA, fantasy
Companion novel to "Graceling"
Summary: Fire is a monster. Her father used his manipulative powers for gain, pushing their country to the brink of disaster and she is determined that she will never be like that. But how does she square her conscience as she sees was coming and deals with the consequences of her father's actions?
Why I Read: I was enjoying reading Graceling and I saw this at the library so I figured I would pick it up.
Thoughts: This book is sort of a prequel to Graceling and introduces an important character seen in that book; it takes place on the other side of the mountains. I found the first chapter less engaging than Graceling's but I continued and mostly enjoyed it. Fire is a monster which means she has fire-red hair, can read and manipulate minds, and is alternately feared and lusted after by humans. Her father destroyed their country through his control of the king and so she avoids the political intrigue. She is pretty cool although sometimes too timid; I appreciated once she became more active. One devastating scene to me was *SPOILER* when she gets frostbite and loses two fingers meaning she can't play the violin anymore (I play viola and sympathize) *END SPOILER* She also falls in love and I think I like Brigan even more than I like Po. Not entirely sure why...
Also there is a lot of sex in this book. I'm not naive, I know that happens but there's an especially promiscuous character who ends up fathering two children and just in general a lot of bed-hopping, of which I very much disapprove. That should not dissuade anyone from reading this but fair warning.
Overall: 4 out of 5. Less enjoyable than Graceling.
Cover: I like the red more than Graceling's cover but it is still not my favorite.
Other: There is a planned third book set in this world following Bitterblue from Graceling, tentatively due April 2011. I hope there will be even more but keep an eye out for updates!