Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

book cover
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson

ISBN-13: 9780062026484
Hardcover: 423 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow
Released: September 20, 2011

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Once a century, one person is chosen by god to perform a great service for god. Elisa is the chosen one. She's also the younger of two princesses--the one who has never done anything remarkable, and she can't see how she ever will.

At sixteen, she's leaving behind all she's ever known. Her life is in danger because she bears the Godstone of the chosen one, so her father marries her to the king of a neighboring country. Her new husband has a mistress and refuses to tell his people that they're married. He's indecisive at a time when an army is massing along his borders. He and his people along the border need the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her the most, but can she survive long enough to fulfill prophecy? Some of the chosen die before they do, and almost all die young...

My Review:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a young adult fantasy novel. It's written in first person, present tense, and it's a quick read. It's the first book in a series, and this book did wrap up the main plot lines by the end.

In some ways, the story wasn't very realistic. For example, she only knows military strategy from books, yet seasoned warriors take her (good) advice on strategy. And no one told her that her life was in danger or why she was being married away as, apparently, they thought she'd be safer if she didn't know about it. Yet these aspects worked together to create an Elisa that had no confidence in herself since no one else did, yet she saw glimpses of what she could be when people obeyed her war orders.

Though considered "magic" related, the Godstone didn't actually do much beyond give her a small amount of protection against the enemy. (It does more in the second book.) Everyone in the world apparently worships the same god--called God, but it's a fantasy deity--yet they have different ideas about what this god's will is and how the chosen one is to be used. This is a source of much of the conflict in the story.

I liked that Elisa decided to stop "being useless" and do whatever she could to make a difference, even if it was something small. She learned a lot about being a leader. (Unfortunately, in the second book, she reverted back to being passive and useless again. *sigh*)

Elisa falls in love very easily with any guy that gives her kind attention, but the men that she likes don't tend to last long since she constantly went from one dangerous situation into another. The main reason I was interested in the next book was curiosity if her next love interest--one of the few really intriguing characters--manages to survive that book.

The book was exciting with suspense from relationship tensions, physical danger, and discovering more about the Godstone and the different people groups in this world. The characters and cultures were interesting and varied.

There was no sex. There was no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable fantasy novel

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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