Yep! This one was on my Nook too, thanks to Christmas gifts! I am so glad because I have immediately reread both of Cashore's books.
Comments: This book has some very modern ideas.
Both of these books are overtly feminist. In Graceling, Katsa chooses a sexual relationship without marriage and also chooses not to bear children. In Fire, Fire has a cavalier relationship with Archer. In both books, birth control is mentioned while abortion and some sort of permanent contraception are mentioned. (I do like her mentioning birth control and periods since those are topics girls wonder about.) Both books have SUPER strong female leads. I will assert that Cashore is not a man-hater; both of her male leads are very intelligent, sensitive, and traditionally manly.
Fire mentions a lesbian relationship though it does not go into detail and really only alludes to the comfort found in a friend of the same sex, but I think the relationship is obviously a lesbian relationship. If you read Graceling, please let me know if you think Raffin and Ban were homosexual based on no one line in particular but rather on the overall feel of their relationship.
This book reverts to some rather un-modern themes.
One theme is that in order to truly understand yourself you must know where you came from. This comes across in the rather Shakespeare-like revelation of everyone's true parentage. In the case of the men, one could see how they had chosen the vocation of their real parents but the mindset of their "good" parent. With Fire, she must battler her real parent's (whom she knows) influence to become something he was not.
One of my favorite themes in literature is what I like to call "the cult of the orphan." I suppose this is really an archetype of the orphan, but whatever! Think of Anne of Green Gables, Huckleberry Finn, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and Daddy Long-Legs. What do all of these books have in common? They were written 1860-1900. It was a prominent idea in that time to have an orphan take on the world and win. This idea is seen in both of Cashore's works. I like it!
Anyway: I really enjoyed both of these books. I am glad to own them and be able to reread them whenever I want. I can't wait for the other 5 books. Please leave a comment if you have an opinion on one of my observations.