There aren't enough words to describe how awesome this book is. Cashore has done something that most would say is impossible: she's written a protagonist who has unearthly beauty and charms, who is either loved or hated by everyone she meets -- and made her completely and utterly believable. And on top of that, there are any number of absolutely perfect details that make Fire's world real to the reader, so real that you wish the book would never end.
Fire, an uncommonly beautiful girl with the ability to enthrall those around her, lives in a country known as The Dells, where young King Nash clings to the throne while rebel lords plot an uprising. War is on its way. Brought to the capital city from her remote home, Fire has to contend with situations she never expected and ones with which she is, unfortunately, all too familiar. She gets off to a bit of a rocky start with the royal family -- especially with Prince Brigan -- but soon her abilities become a key part of their plans. (DIAL, Oct., 480 pp., $17.99)