Book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Publication: September 20, 100 by Greenwillow Books
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (Amazon): 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, and 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 her to be 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 Thoughts: I picked up this book on a whim at Barnes and Noble because I fell in love with the cover. And my, am I glad that I did. This book is YA fantasy done absolutely correct. The greatest strengths of this novel lie in how effortlessly Rae Carson creates this fantasy world, the plot and gives the readers an incrediblysympathetic heroine.
Elisa is one of the best fantasy characters I’ve seen grace the pages of a YA book in a long time. When we first met her she’s rather large, unhappy and desperately wishing her husband to be will be old and ugly so that he won’t be disappointed with her. However, Elisa was born with the gift of the Godstone, a stone embedded in her navel, and connects her to some greater duty. A greater duty that she isn’t sure she is capable of. Elisa is an average girl, she’s not given any special powers or abilities to help her along the way, yet she still pushes through all obstacles and proves that she can handle anything that is thrown her way. Her journey is slow, tat times tedious, yet it’s well thought out and executed, a true heroes journey.
Above all else I found myself completely swept away in the magical world that Carson has created, it’s spanish influences are easy to spot in the landscape, the architecture, the names and even the religious aspects that touch parts of the story. It’s such a refreshing change from the typical fantasy world that tends to resemble England or other Anglo-Saxon worlds. The Spanish influence added an extra level of intrigue and mystery and gave the story more depth than I had been expecting.
For some people the religion may be a bit heavy handed, but I felt that it was woven perfectly into the story and fit seamlessly not the plot lines. It’s more of a spiritual approach to religion, and does’t fit into any one of the Christian denominations we are family with in our world. If you’re not big on religion it shouldn’t be a huge deterent, but it’s good to know that it’s there.
There is just enough romance in this story to balance out the fighting and violence that occurs over the kingdoms and the godstones. The romance it sweet and subtle without being overly done or too trite. And I had a special place in my heart for Humberto from the very beginning.
I was incredibly swept away from this story from the very first page and was immediately invested in Elisa and her journey. I stayed up entirely too late reading the book and it was absolutely worth it. If you love fantasy this is a must add to your to be read list!