While this book was not nearly as good as Graceling, I still enjoyed it. Fire was an interesting heroine, but I found her constant melancholy unattractive, especially at the end. The saving grace for me was Brigand. I loved him as a character/love interest. He was a strong army commander whose mantle had been thrust upon him. He did what he had to do to keep the kingdom together and treated people with kindness and respect for the most part. I just love Cashore's me characters because once again they aren't abusive but they're still interesting even though they didn't have messed up childhoods or whatever. The plot of this story got pretty lost being in Fire's mind until she actually became more involved in the happenings of the kingdom. Overall, I liked the idea of the Dells and the glimpses we got into Leck's early life. 3.5 stars .