Fire by Kristin Cashore

She is the last of her kind . . . . It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don’t need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven’t, you’ll be dying to read it next.

"Fire" is the second book in the Graceling Series.  If you have not read the first, what are you waiting for?  I don't know why it took me so long to read it either.   I hesitated giving "Fire" 4 stars only because I wanted more romance (and kissing) and for it to happen quicker.  Cashmore has a very slow going way of unveiling the romance.  Slower here than Graceling, but because the world and overall story is so strong and the characters so rememberable (even if their names are hard to remember) I loved the story.  It's medieval meets fantasy, in a very realistic world.  There's the action and intricacies of war without detailing battle scenes.  There are other romances and twists and love triangles around every corner.  This book is set in different world than Graceling but the two worlds are connected.  So you will be learning new territories.  Also, (mini SPOILIER) it happens before the time of King Leck.  From what Cashmore wrote in describing book 3, Bitterblue, I believe the two worlds will collide. And I have a sneaky feeling who Bitterblue will fall in love with.