Fire's father was a literal monster - but monsters in this world are beautiful almost beyond enduring, and can sway the minds of ordinary people. Unfortunately his actions were more like the monsters we are familiar with, and as advisor to the king, he held undue influence and almost ruined the kingdom.
Fire's monster beauty drives men wild, including the new king -son of the ruined king her father advised. He needs her help with traitorous nobles who are closing in on the throne. The king calls for her to help, despite his brother's objections - who bears a hate and a wariness for her because she is her father's daughter.
And Fire, the last human monster, must decide whether or not to help the kingdom that her father put at risk, when it might mean becoming what her father was.
There is so much depth and feeling to the story. If you read this book, I promise you won't be disappointed. Kristin Cashore has a wonderful gift for storytelling.
The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima. This book kicks off a new trilogy by this imaginative author. Her first three books, The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, and The Dragon Heir, were contemporary fantasies, set in today's world - mostly in Ohio, as a matter of fact.
Her new book is set in a different world - one with seven realms that have a very interesting history, and a rocky present. With wars going on, a Queendom at stake, some upstart wizards, and a street rogue trying to turn his life around without much luck, Chima weaves a wonderful start to what promises to be an engaging trilogy. The characters draw you in with lots of twists and complexities, and you can't help but wonder what's going to happen next with each of them, and what it will mean in the larger scope of things. I can't wait for the next book to come out.