Fire by Kristin Cashore
high school & up
Fire is the kind of person that people in her country call a "monster." She isn't evil but she has almost irresistible beauty and an exceedingly rare ability. She can enter the minds of others, understand their thoughts and even control their thoughts and actions. The King hopes to make use of her ability to defeat the rebellion that threatens the peace and safety of the kingdom.
This book follows Graceling but is not technically a sequel. At least not according to my definition. I was actually fairly confused when I started reading. It took me a while to understand how it fit into Katsa's world. Fire's story is similar to a bridge. We need to know Fire's story before the next book Bitterblue. And of course, under a bridge runs a river (in my head anyway). The river running through this story is the story of how King Leck uses his grace to become King. Which sorta makes this a prequel to Graceling. Like I said, I was pretty confused. The story is good though. I loved all the characters. Well, not all of them. Leck is pretty hate-worthy.
by Kristin Cashore
high school & up
Bitterblue is now Queen of Monsea and is struggling to heal the emotional trauma inflicted on the kingdom by her father Leck. This is complicated by the fact that most of her advisors were profoundly affected by Leck and would prefer to completely ignore the years spent enduring Leck's insane cruelty.
First off, I have to say I love the cover on this book. It's just so pretty. There is a lot more intrigue in this book than in Graceling. And you really do need to read Fire first. Some of the things that happen will make much more sense if you've got that background. Bitterblue is awesome (although I hate her name). She is determined to face everything that Leck did to the Monsean people. Her really crappy childhood (thanks to dad) made her strong.
Verdict: both recommended