I'm so impressed with this author's storytelling abilities. Fire is a companion novel to Graceling and both are wonderful fantasy novels.Fire is a human monster living in a world on the brink of war. She's surrounded by humans who are either afraid of her or want to possess her. She's afforded few friends in the beginning of the story, but Archer is her one true companion. As Fire moves away from her secluded home and into the politics of the kingdom, she encounters an uneven mix of hatred and love. Who she meets, who she trusts, and who she loves is interwoven with an important message about power, politics, and the way we treat people.What struck me most about this book was how the author was able to use a few words or a certain setting to compel such strong emotion from her readers. There are a few passages that brought tears to my eyes even the second go-round.Without spoiling too much, the romance in this book isn't clear-cut and I really enjoyed following along as Fire came to terms with what was in her heart. I will say this: Even though Archer was a little shit at times, I was heartbroken for him when Fire ended their physical relationship. i was truly upset to read of his death even though I knew it would happen. The horrid, hateful character that crosses from Fire into Graceling was so terrifying to me. The ultimate in subliminal messaging and such a void of everything that makes a human a human. When he compared himself to Fire's father, I understood his points but still would want Cransel around any day compared to that thing.There are so many characters in this book but I found them all compelling and necessary. The vivid portrayal of the landscapes, the animals, the city, and monsters was spot-on. I could see this world with ease. I've looked through other reviews and noticed several that were taken aback by the illegitimate children and references to sex. I wasn't put off by either of those things based on the world that was portrayed. It's a fantasy novel set in a world torn apart by war. People live fast and die young.Great book and I'm eager to read Bitterblue when it's published. Got this from the library but I've already ordered a copy to own.