THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson (
Published September 20, 2011 by Greenwillow
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, #1
Blurb: 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.
Favorite quote: “God’s will. How many times have I heard someone declare their understanding of this thing I find so indefinable?”
This book made me fall in love with fantasy again. It’s brilliant. The world-building is perfectly detailed, the characters have so much depth, and the writing is so beautiful. I feel like this world Carson writes about could absolutely exist.
When we first meet Elisa, she’s sixteen, young and naïve, and it shows. She’s been raised knowing that she has been blessed with a Godstone, and it’s a tremendous responsibility. It means a life of service to God. It means she has an even bigger responsibility than she normally would have being a princess. Elisa just isn’t ready for it.
Despite this, her father marries her off to a king whose country is in trouble. This king needs Elisa to be the Chosen One she was born to be. Elisa, who has major self-esteem issues and attempts to eat her problems away, doesn’t think she can do it. She has no idea why she has a Godstone. She’s no warrior. She’s jealous of her sister and homesick for her homeland. Her new husband doesn’t want her because he’s still in love with his first wife. She believes it’s because she’s ugly and fat.
Then she gets kidnapped by the rebels.
Elisa goes through major character growth, and it’s great to read. It doesn’t happen overnight. This change only comes through blood, sweat, and tears (literally). We see her transform from a naïve girl who still acts like a princess to this powerful queen ready to stand up for her new country. It’s beautiful.
My only real issue with this book is how Elisa’s transformation affects her relationship with food. For someone with a love/hate relationship with food like Elisa has, that doesn’t go away as quickly as Elisa’s did. Suddenly Elisa no longer needs her snacks anymore, ever again. Um. That’s not how it works in the real world, if you’ve truly got issues with food. That annoyed me. And in book number two, she still doesn’t have any slip-ups. That’s some willpower!
This book does have a bit of a religious theme to it, which may put off some readers.
I’d recommend this book to dystopian and fantasy fans.
Rating: 5 stars