THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (#1)
By: Rae Carson
Review by: Kaede
Release Date: September 20th, 2011
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.
There aren't many books where the main character conflicts me so, in a way that I both love and dislike her.
Or maybe it's just me. Strange, strange me.
Elisa was never a character I felt I hated. Frustrated, certainly, but I never wanted her to fail at what she was doing. For those, like me, who are late to reading this fantastic series might love Elisa as a heroine because she has her flaws. She is not skinny nor absolutely beautiful as Elisa describes many of the people she comes across seems to be. She achieves her goals not by stunning people with her charming beauty, but by using her brain. Elisa is very perspective and smart, but because of that, it sometimes bothers me because I just can't see where she's coming from for someone so intelligent. But making mistakes is the mark of a realistic character, so it leaves me entirely conflicted on my feelings.
Elisa aside, there were plenty of characters I adored. Hector, Rosario, Mara, and the whole array of the desert rebels were are great characters in their own right. There's a part of me that I think could have really loved Alejandro as well, but he was a weak ruler who made terrible decisions, and ignored his son.
The beginning of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS was a bit slow, but once it picked up it didn't let go until the end. The story itself was adventurous and a bit magical. Chosen as a once in a century bearer of the Godstone, Elisa is supposedly destined for great things. However her ability with her Godstone doesn't extend far, and she spends the book learning more about herself and how to utilize it.
Religion plays its part in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, but never did I feel like the story was weighed down by it. Instead it was just the way things were and a part of our characters. Some people might be a bit hesitant to read a book with religious aspects because they don't want anybody shoving it in their faces, but it isn't a concern with this series.
If you are a fan of high fantasy young adult, and have yet to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, I encourage you to give it a try. Rae Carson has set up a world with interesting history. There is quite a bit of politics because Elisa is a queen, and a lot of world-building as well as history is laid out for you. If you prefer action over explanations, and exploring the present instead of the past, you might find parts of this book a bit slow. But I think you'll find it worthwhile when all the puzzle pieces finally connect.
There were parts of the story that surprised me, most particularly the characters. So many people that I loved right off the bat, and a few characters that seemed to be against Elisa at first and turned into allies that I loved as well. There was also a lot of wanting to interfere and play matchmaker and make all my ships into canon. Because that is what I do.
I also cry when my ships don't end up happening.
|WHY WON'T YOU JUST GET TOGETHER AND KISS?|
To end it off, Rae Carson is an author to look out for. This review is being written after I have read the entire series, so I can confidently say that I will pick up whatever Carson writes next. Carson has a way with words, but what impressed me the most was the way she developed her characters. While Elisa is not my favorite person in the world at all times, she does undergo a stunning transformation from a shy and not confident princess, to a fierce warrior queen using what she learned and experienced from her time in the desert with Cosme and her friends, characters who I strongly loved.
And man, those certain deaths, even though I was expecting them, still broke my heart a little. Okay, maybe a lot.
4 and ½ coffee cups!
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Let's Discuss: In the comments, tell me who your favorite pairing from this series is! I am hopeless romantic and would love to know. If you haven't read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS yet, you can tell me about a pairing from another series you love or what makes you decide that you like certain two people together.