Fire  - Kristin Cashore
Fire lives in the Dells - a land filled with beautiful creatures called monsters. There are monsters of every kind. Monster kittens, monster bugs, and the most fierce and dangerous of all, monster raptors. The monsters are covered in fur and feathers of the most vibrant and iridescent colors. Their beauty traps humans, allowing the monsters to control their minds. Monsters can influence humans - make them stand still and allow themselves to be killed, alter their thoughts and decisions, or compel them to do something against their will. Fire is the last human monster in the Dell and people are afraid of her and tend to stay out of her way or try to kill her.

Fire is aware of the danger monsters pose to the people around her and takes care to remain respectful of their privacy and free will. The only time she attempts to claim a person's mind is in self-defense. Her life is a comfortable rhythm of hunting and spending time with her best friend Archer. Fire has spent seventeen years within the safety of her own grounds and surrounded by people she can trust so when the Prince from King's City comes to ask for her help in getting information out of captured spies, she can't help but say yes. Fire has wanted to see King's City for a long time.

Fire's abilities and conscience are pushed to the limit once she joins the fight to save the crown.

FIRE is a companion book to GRACELING. You absolutely don't need to read one before the other because FIRE takes place approximately 30 years before GRACELING'S timeline picks up. FIRE is a beautiful story. I listened to the audio book that Xanthe Elbrick narrates. Xanthe's voice made Fire come alive and I was almost sad when the story was over. If you like fantasy, you definitely need to read FIRE.