The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Published by Grenwillow on 1/1/12
Genres: YA High Fantasy
Purchase from: Amazon | B & N
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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.
This book surprised me. I mean, I expected it to be good, and I do love some great YA High Fantasy. The beginning was a real turn off. I didn’t really know that it was going to be so religious. However, that was before I realized that it was definitely not a religion based in reality. I ended up really loving the lore behind the religion and learning about it right along with our main character, Elisa. So, don’t let that deter you from experiencing this book.
Elisa, the youngest princess of Orovalle, has been married off to the king off Joya d’Arena at the beginning of her journey. Her lack of confidence is readily apparent and she remains in the shadows. She is the bearer of a Godstone, a jewel in her naval that is placed there by God and apparently means He has big plans for her. Elisa feels anything but special, unique or anything of the sort. Even though she is very devout to her faith, she is pretty clueless about this honor bestowed upon her and feels unfit for this position of power. She endures some traumatizing experiences and is put through the wringer. And from this, a change occurs in Elisa. Her growth is blinding. By the end of the book, she is unrecognizable as the timid, unsure Elisa we meet at the beginning of the series. It was incredible characterization and I ate it up!
The world-building was so detailed and interesting. I was so wrapped up in the religion, the wars between countries, the magical abilities of the Godstone and the people who wish to use its power for evil. It was all very exciting and entertaining, and I never felt overloaded or bored with explanations and situations. We get the lay of the land because Elisa does a lot of traveling, and it was a world full of danger (both in terrain and people) and magic. Elisa also likes food and some of the pastries and food described in this book sound divine! There was a lot to experience and explore and it was just great world-building.
Aside from an outstanding heroine, the originality of this story and world are what made this book so enjoyable. It’s unique in many ways, and I am very excited to continue and see where Elisa’s life leads. She is going to do great things and become something magnificent, and I think Rae Carson is going to deliver the goods,