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This review is from: Fire: 2 (Graceling) (Paperback)
I have to say, I much preferred Fire over Graceling. It has much better world-building and characterisation compared to that in Graceling.
Fire was a strong character who can take care of herself if she needs to, ask for help when she can't and still be vulnerable. She wrestles with her inner emotions all through this book, with her terrifying power and with those who succumb to her appearance. Having a gorgeous female character so often is a bit Mary Sue-ish but here it is not as, to begin with, you really wouldn't want to be Fire. It's a testament to Cashore's improved writing that when Fire does begin to blossom, it's sweet and wonderful and not at all saccharine. Fire was, simply, a better written character than Katsa was.
The world building was also improved in this novel. Like with Graceling, there was a lot of fighting and action and Fire was, wonderfully, in the thick of it. I love female characters that can take care of themselves and are not purely simpering damsels. But, unlike Graceling, there was not endless bland amounts of travelling being undertaken by the characters. Instead there were journeys across sweeping landscapes, ones that I could imagine. The plot was much more complicated than Graceling and that's the reason I enjoyed it more.
Fire was a wonderful read that showed just how much an author can grow between debut and sophomore novels. Recommended.