Fire - Kristin Cashore I re-read this after reading Bitterblue, and I liked it a lot this time around. I must have liked it last time too because my review was simply "I loved it," but somehow in the meantime I had grown to think of it as far inferior to Graceling.

I think maybe the pacing of this book is a little off. I don't know if Cashore was being pressured to write faster, but I think this book could have used some re-structuring. We get a lot of Fire's backstory before we really get to know and care about her, and it takes a while for the action to get going. Maybe that was deliberate--it is a quieter book, more about Fire's inner journey than the action going on around her. But it doesn't immediately pull the reader in the way Graceling does.

I identified a lot with Fire on this re-read. I think now that I'm not comparing her to Katsa, I can see her strengths more clearly. She's actually a lot more like Po--her power is mental. She's trying to learn to deal with her power, and how to use it wisely, without abusing it as her father did. People resent her for it, much like those who learn Po's secret resent him, but she can't help having that ability. What she can choose is what ends to use it for.

Spoilers for Bitterblue: I was so happy to see that Fire and Brigan are still together nearly fifty years later. It's curious that the Dells is presented as a peace-loving realm, though, considering all the war they went through in Fire. I have to wonder about the intervening years, and how they came to such a peaceful arrangement. And what they thought when they first found the tunnel to the Seven Kingdoms, and what's going to happen to the two realms now that they've found each other...

There are so many more books Cashore could write in this world. If she does, I'll be very happy.