I remember being sent Fire by Kristin Cashore for review quite clearly. I picked it from a line up of books because it had a beautiful colour. The blurb promised fantasy and romance.
It was around the time when everything vaguely fantasy romance was being labeled as ‘perfect for fans of Twilight’, as if the selling power of that franchise was like some bookish virus that could be transmitted by association. I’d read a lot of crap Twilight-alikes – all the more damning because Twilight wasn’t that good in the first place, though at least at the time original – and was dubious about embarking on another fantasy romance novel. But the cover won me over, and I hadn’t quite reached the stage of jaded where I didn’t want to give books with fantasy and romance elements – two of my favourite ingredients – the benefit of the doubt.
And I’m so glad about that, because Fire was amazing. It was beautifully written, told a great story, had wonderful characters and was generally a really excellent read, perfectly restoring my faith that not everything fantasy and romance had to contain brooding, borderline abusive teenage boys.
On the strength of Fire, I immediately bought Graceling, which I also enjoyed enormously – though I must admit, I preferred the central romance in Fire. I have also subsequently really enjoyed Bitterblue, the final instalment of the trilogy.
There’s just something about Cashore’s style of writing that really works for me. Her characters are realistic, as are their relationships. There’s beauty in the world, the story and the writing, and I love existing within them for as long as the pages last.