Monday, February 11, 2013

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Girl of Fire and Thorns
By Rae Carson
Published by HarperCollins, 2011
432 pages (paperback)

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. (from

Want something a little different? Pick this book up.

Honestly, what I liked about this book is that the characters were different. Sure, there is a princess, but she isn’t blonde and graceful. Instead, she has thick dark hair, tanned skin, and is a bit on the chubby side. And definitely not graceful. Yes, there is a castle, but it is in the middle of a desert and not all that glorious. And there is a handsome king too, but he might not be all he is cracked up to be.

Rae Carson has put a diverse and unique twist on the royal love-story/fantasy. In fact, it isn’t meant to be a love story at all. It is the story of a young princess who is learning about her strength from within and what it means to be strong. Elisa fascinated me because she didn’t let her self-doubt keep her from trying to follow her heart and purpose. She surprises herself, other characters, and the reader time and time again just by trying to do the right thing.

Another plus of Girl of Fire and Thorns is that it has a bunch of strong female characters. Sure, there are some awesome guys too, but the ladies are vibrant leaders. We desperately need more books that have assertive women instead of whiny, weak girls.

There was one thing that bugged me the whole book (and while reading the next book in the series). It is Elisa’s godstone. Since it is a central part of the book and described in the first few pages, I don’t feel like I am giving anything away when I say that the godstone is a blue jewel in Elisa’s bellybutton that makes her one of God’s chose. What?! I’m sorry, I could not imagine the powerful stone in her tummy that gets warm when she prays… or I couldn’t imagine it in a realistic way. It just seems all kinds of awkward. Maybe in the third book Rae Carson will put a picture of it or describe it in a way that makes it seem more fantastical and amazing.

In the meantime, this was poetically written adventure that makes the reader faithfully believe in Elisa during her grand journey.

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