I have to say I’m immensely impressed with Miss Cashore. She is able to take a type of book that I struggle with and make it easy to read and highly enjoyable for me. I like fantasy books. I really do. I don’t get along with most high fantasy books for whatever reason. [I guess I'm more of a urban fantasy girl.] I’ve tried and tried and just don’t like them. Somehow, Cashore is able to make me love her version of high fantasy. Yes, I’m still a bit fuzzy about the different kings and why exactly they’re fighting but I’m also able to track the story pretty closely and be glued to the book.Surprisingly enough, I actually enjoyed the romance aspect of the story. Much like Graceling, the romance(s) were a slow build so I grew to love the people like Fire did. I loved the lack of insta-love. I wasn’t a big fan of the soap opera aspect of the story. Don’t get me wrong. Jealousy, anger, surprise pregnancies, and secrets make for great story. I just wasn’t expecting that for this story.Like Graceling, there was a good mix of action-y fun stuff and some slower paced story building stuff. They are intertwined nicely so I never felt overwhelmed with the action or bored with the story building.I was a bit unsure of how I was going to like the fact that this is a companion to Graceling and not a sequel. I loved Graceling! I want to be with Katsa, Po, and Bitterblue again. Why are we going back in time? Ugh. Well, I’m just going to go ahead and bite my tongue because I don’t know what I’m talking about it. Silly Alison. The going back in time worked pretty well. My memory is a bit terrible but I’m pretty sure Fire helps explain some the history, kings and all that stuff going on during Graceling. It does introduce a character that I do remember is terrible from Graceling though. Maybe it would be better to read this book before Graceling? You should at least read them closer together so you’re not fuzzy on details like I am.The bottom line? I didn’t love it as much as I loved Graceling but it’s still great story!