Monday, December 30, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Fire and Thorns #1
Greenwillow Books
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, 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 things 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. 

Without reservation, I give The Girl of Fire and Thorns 5 out of 5 stars. Rae Carson doesn't just pull you into the story, she literally drags you into it with a compelling plot line and a remarkably sympathetic protagonist. I absolutely loved that Elisa wasn't your traditional "beautiful in a non-traditional way" young adult heroine. Elisa is awkward and overweight, she eats her feelings, and has low self-esteem. From the moment you meet her, Elisa is relate-able.
The characters are well rounded, and the relationships are wonderfully well developed and believable. The world described is brilliantly realized once you get your bearings. It's grounded in reality in the fact that the languages in the book bear a striking resemblance to Spanish and Latin. My favorite thing about the book is the fact that Elisa is at once a very strong and a very weak character. She has doubts about who she is and what her destiny is, and yet she works to find her own strength and her own courage. She is one of the rare young adult heroines who has agency. Who figures things out on her own, rather than has a male side kick do it for her. And I loved that!
There were very few things about this book that I didn't like. It did have a rather slow start, and it was slightly confusing to get my bearings. A prologue or at least a map of the world in question would have been nice to introduce the reader to Elisa's world. 
Overall, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is an amazing read. It's a story about having the courage to find your faith in yourself. It's a must have book! 

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