The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release date: September 20, 2011
Series: Fire & Thorns #1
Reviewed by: Tynga
Source: Net Galley
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.
Chosen by God since her naming day, Elisa is destined for greatness in his name. If she doesn’t die first. Being married off to a King who wants to keep it a secret isn’t easy, and leaves her somewhat bitter, but this event will kick-start the biggest and hardest adventure of her life.
I’ve had this book on my kindle since it was up on Net Galley last year, and I finally started reading it when my friend Grace compared it to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and I’m extremely glad I read it! Set in the medieval era, with an extremely original lore, the Girl of Fire and Thorns proved to be highly exciting!
Elisa bears a Godstone, a mark that was set upon her by God. Prophecies says that the bearer of those stones (there is one every four generations) will fulfill a great mission for humanity. She is either feared, respected or coveted depending on the point of view. This situation will get her in a load of trouble, but will also push her to aim higher. I wasn’t a fan of her at the beginning of the book quite honestly, because she had such low self-esteem, but as the story progresses, she really grew on me. I particularly liked that she was overweight. It’s so rare to see a character with weight issues in YA literature that I found it very refreshing and the way she dealt with it was rather interesting. More importantly, her self-confidence kept growing as her journey progressed, and her brain and faith allowed her great accomplishment.
I liked the wide array of secondary characters. I particularly liked the King’s personal guard, Elisa’s nurse and Humberto, a desert guide. Some characters grew on me, others I was very disappointed into until they proved me wrong, and there are some more I wished were more present.
Rae Carson killed a couple of characters in this book and one of those deaths felt like a slap in the face. It really surprised me and it was a really ballsy move. I was honestly stunned and felt like crying and throwing my kindle across the room all at same time.
The story itself is split in three parts, the fist one introduces the characters and the lore, the second one will challenge Elisa like she’s never been before and the third one concludes her epic quest. I grew more and more excited with every page and I’m really glad I waited this long to read the book because the end was a killer. The main plotline found its conclusion but the end is such a tease for what’s to come. I’m really curious!
In conclusion, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a gem amongst YA fantasy titles, sitting right next to Kristin Cashore & Maria V Snyder’s books. Tired of vampires and werewolves? The Girl of Fire and Thorns is like nothing you’ve ever read before and I’m sure you’ll appreciate every page!