in books, musings, review

kristin cashore’s Fire and a sigh of relief

fireThe ever-awesome bookgeeks sent me an ARC of Kristin Cashore’s Fire, and the review will be up at the site a little closer to the publication date (the 24th of September–it’s worth grabbing a copy when you see them about).  It was an excellent fantasy novel, interesting and original.  I enjoyed it hugely, and, although the characters, plot, and world-building was great, part of the reason it was so much fun to read was that it felt like a straight old-school fantasy novel that I could reccomend to anyone without feeling the need to add the caveat “for adults” or “emmm, there are some adult themes”.

That is not to say that the novel is completely devoid from romance, sex, or physical love.  It even deals forthrightly with violence against women and struggles to be more than a pretty face. The difference between Fire and much of the epic fantasy being written now is the level of violence successfully wielded against the female characters and the use of sex as a weapon.  This distinction does not necessarily make Fire the better book, it is only the author’s second after all, but it did make Fire feel more like a book I would pass around my family and friends without hesitation.  It reminded me of the books I read by Robin McKinley, Mercedes Lackey, and Isaac Asimov–the ones that got me hooked on reading and on the fantasy and science fiction genres in particular.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate and understand what is going on in some of the more convoluted and violent epic fantasies.  But, it does show that there is certainly a place for a book that reminds me that is possible to write an entertaining and simpler story–and to enjoy reading one.