I do love these books. I’ve read two of the three in this series so far, and both have made me cry. (Which is a high compliment. I don’t cry for books.)
In the Dells, there are monsters – varieties of animals that look like regular animals, but with fantastically colored fur, or feathers, and extra abilities than their kin. They mate with other regular animals, but the monster trait breeds true.
Fire is the last remaining monster human. Her family has been tied to the kings of the Dells for centuries, but her father and King Nax nearly brought the kingdom to ruin. Both are now dead, and Nax’s sons, Nash (now King), and Brigan (the commander of the army) are fighting a civil war, brought on by their father's destructive behavior. Fire has kept to herself on her father’s lands, becaused her father was the influence on Nax that nearly destroyed the kingdom. Fire is not her father, but knows that she has his same terrible abilities.
She finally meets the royal brothers – Nash is instantly enamored, but Brigan distrusts her. Their mother, however, knows that Fire could help end the civil war, and convinces her to join them in the King’s City. Fire learns a lot about herself there, and is finally able to shake free of the shadow of her father.
I can’t say enough about these books. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there’s just something about this world, or maybe Cashore’s writing style, that just instantly pulls you in. Fire is such a real character, and it’s also so lovely to see how the princes grow, as well. I’ve got to track down Bitterblue.