Tuesday, October 1, 2013

[Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson]

"The Girl of Fire and Thorns"
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Pages: 423
Genre: YA Fantasy
Date Published: September 20th, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Press
Format Read: Hardback copy from the library


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.

My Thoughts:

I have no idea why it's taken me so long to read this book, but I wish that I hadn't waited till two years after it was first published!  "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" is just my type of fantasy/high adventure story that I love!  Carson has a way of weaving humor into the bleakest moments and writing a story that feels as if it rings almost too true.  She doesn't make things so crazy and odd that you can't see yourself in the characters that she's created and yet she still reminds you that this story isn't real by throwing in a dash of magic.  Brutal, strange magic.  

Carson also tells her tale with a heavy dose of religion.  The battle of God and the barer of the Godstone against this brutal magic is an interesting one.  It doesn't really get fully fleshed out as this is the first book in Carson's series, but I like where she's taking it all.  She's created an interesting faith and used it well in her story telling.  Giving Elisa someone to lean on even in her darkest moments and also buildings Elisa's faith in herself at the same time.  There is an almost Spanish touch to the world building as well and all of these things together give us a fully fleshed world that you can get lost in.

I really loved Elisa.  She's this girl who gets thrown into things that she's never really wanted, but instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for herself she does what she needs to do to survive.  So often a protagonist dealing with Elisa's hardships, being the less pretty princess, being more than a little overweight and being totally out of their element find a way to sit and wallow.  Elisa does just the opposite.  Does this mean that she's perfect, no it doesn't.  She faces her fear face on but also allows herself to feel it.  Every single bit of it.  She's the protagonist who when life gives her lemons, she chucks them at her enemies.  Who doesn't love a girl like that?

Carson uses Elisa and all the other characters in the novel to tell her intricate story.  There is political intrigue, kidnappings, marriage, war, social unrest and just about everything else.  The tale is layered in a way that makes even the simplest things hold extreme importance to the plot.  Plus, there are even moments that are fairly swoon worthy.  Though I'm interested to see what happens next in the romance department (for reasons that will remind undisclosed).  The pacing is fast, though at times it slows down just enough to allow you to breath! 

To put a cherry on top of the "this is an epic book" cake, Carson also knows her away around being brutal to her characters.  No one is safe.  No one is sacred.  If she's written you into the pages, she can just as easily write you out of them, without even blinking.  It's a talent that not everyone can pull off and Carson does it as well as the best of them!

Without a question I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a really strong, yet equally flawed heroine, detailed worlds and gut wrenching moments.  This book has it all!

      5 Unicorns = Get your hands on this now!   


Tammy Sparks said...

Oh wow, I'm dying to read this! I can't believe it's been out for two years already! I bought a paperback copy and have it in a pile somewhere...must read soon!

Nicole said...

This is a great review. Unfortunately I didn't feel as strongly toward this book but I hear the books keep getting better so I am open to reading the second one (I just don't know when I'll actually do it).