Publish Date: September 20, 2011
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Synopsis: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
There was so much positive buzz that surrounded The Girl of Fire and Thorns that I just had to read it myself. There was promise of adventure and love, and Rae Carson did not disappoint.
Princess Lucero-Elisa is about to get married to King Alejandro. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, she simply is not ready. But Elisa is not just any girl, nor is she just any princess. Elisa is the chosen one to bear the Godstone, a gem that is blessed by God, implanted in her body. As a bearer of the Godstone, she has divine orders to full a service to God’s people. And with this, the marriage will symbolize peace and faith between the kingdoms and entrust that God will bless the people through Elisa.
That is if people knew about the marriage and about Elisa.
King Alejandro’s country is on the verge of war and has put Elisa in the middle of danger. Elisa quickly matures beyond her age and seeks the truth about the Godstone, other bearers, and herself. With the information that she learns, she finds her purpose and becomes who her husband’s people need her to be. Unfortunate circumstances hinder her plan, which results her kidnapping by local rebels.
A country on the brink of a war. Check. A princess in distress. Check. Magic. Check. Unplanned adventure. Check. Coming-of-age story so well written that you cannot put the book down. Check.
Carson does an amazing job pacing the story. While in some books, I would say that things progressed slowly with the amount of detail, that is not true for The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Each event that led up to the climax of the story. Every moment was engaging. I did not feel that there was a part of the story that should have been left out. It felt like everything had to happen before we got to the end. Each piece to the unraveling puzzle was intriguing. Each page that I read, I discovered who Elisa really was. Long gone was the immature princess who would rather hide than face her future. All of the characters hold a wonderful balance of of traits that it just adds another dimension of depth to the brilliance of Carson’s writing.
And let’s talk about the intricacies of the details of the religion in the story line. Interesting, no?
It was very interesting that faith is so well weaved into the basis of the book. It was not overdone nor was I sick of hearing about Elisa’s service. It really was a factor to who Elisa was and who she became in the end. It really does make for an intriguing and interesting element.
While self-esteem issues are common in the young adult genre, I have yet to see a female protagonist that does not originally fit the “mold.” She was set up to have downfalls, but with some effort and determination, she overcame. This would be a great book for young girls who have self-esteem issues. The constant mention of food and wanting to eat were also uncommon. Could it have been too much? Maybe, but I felt it added to who Elisa was. She was a princess. A true sense of the word. She was spoiled and young. Through the events that happened to her, Elisa built character and overcame her issues with her beauty, her body, and her unfamiliar feelings of attraction.
As someone who has had weight issues, Elisa’s vision of herself holds true. You can’t really see yourself unless you are open to see yourself. If Elisa saw what she saw, then no matter what anyone told her, she was not going to see it. I know other people may have had issues with that, but it was a part of who she was. I think it was a key point, actually. The weight, the beauty, or anything else did not matter. She was not open to anything because she was not ready.
The mix of elements makes for a great fantasy read. Carson brought to life a wonderful world with an all-around cast of developed and strong characters.