Fire is a mid-teenage girl living with a special ability – to sense minds and to understand emotion, truth, and action. She can also control people. She is what her people call a monster: an animal of any species with a colorful body. These animals are vicious and can not only sense and read minds but will also try to hurt and kill other monsters. Fire is the last human monster. Her father named Cansrel, a monster as well, was the King’s advisor. He used his ability to control the King’s thoughts and, in turn, turned the kingdom into chaos. Though he is dead, Cansrel often hunts Fire’s dreams and frightens her.
Fire lives in a rural castle with her overprotective and flirty romantic interest, a young lord named Archer. One day while she is out in the woods, Fire gets shot by a foggy-minded archer. While not killed, Fire’s arm is injured. The archer is killed before he can tell who he works for.
After a few more “incidents” all involving minds that were tangled and not quite there, Fire goes to the King’s City to discover whether the strange assaults were the fault of two lords each trying to take over the throne. The two lords, Gentian and Mydogg by name, have been each planning an attack on the King to overthrow him. Thanks to Fire’s special ability she will be able to get information out of people and tell whether they are lying.
While in the King’s City, Fire meets Brigan, the Prince and Commander of the King’s Army. At first he is distrustful of her, but then he learns be friends with her – and maybe even a little bit more.
Fire creates an elaborate plan with the closest and most-trustworthy companions at the castle to get information out of the two lords to reveal their battle plans. At the January gala, fire tricks Gentian to revel his and Mydogg’s secrets for the war that will soon happen. The war is now in the King’s favor after the opposing army’s plans are discovered. But the war is the least of Fire’s problems. Far away, an unseen force is the one attempting to control Fire and the Kingdom itself. They are smarter, wiser, more cunning, and deadlier than any rebel is. Will Fire be able to stop them and save the kingdom, or will they get the best of her? Find out in this epic companion to Graceling.
I really enjoyed this book. The writer has a very beautiful style and will entrance you with her words and smooth sentence structure. Again, the characters were likable and understandable, same as in Graceling. In places where there was action, it was described very well.
Unfortunately, this book was good but not great. While the writer had good voice, sentences, and even better characters, the plot was overall, only mediocre. The plot often stopped in some places and gave unnecessary detail that did not fit with the book. Other times, it became so confusing I could not tell what was going on. It was as if the writer expected me to get something without an explanation. There were parts like that where you could just move on, but some ended up making the end more confusing. But the most annoying part was the fact that the prequel did not even sum up the book it was taking place before. I expected to know more about Graceling and to have a deeper understanding of it. In the end I hardly knew much more about the characters in the previous book and it did not enhance my understanding of it, which was the reason why I read it. For a prequel, I had high expectations that this book did not meet. However, if you have already read Graceling, don’t hesitate to give this book a try. I liked it!