20 February 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


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.
I feel so sad that this book sat on my shelf for so long. I was finally encouraged to read it after seeing all the good reviews about it, and I’m so glad I did. This was an excellent book, one of the best reads of the year. Elisa is a very relatable princess. She wants to be a good person and a good ruler, but she was raised as the second to a perfect child and never taught how to rule or pushed to realize her potential. Combine that with the fact that she’s considered a treasure – the carrier of the Godstone – and you can see how she’s never struggled to do anything more than learn religion. When things happen, though Elisa learns that she has gifts too, gifts that can help her find value as a ruler and as a person. It is this basis on excellent character development and Carson’s worldbuilding that makes the book so good. There are other well-developed characters in the book (Cosme, Ximenia, Rosario) and some not-so-well crafted ones (Alexander, Arina). Since the cast of characters is huge, though, I excused this because it’s impossible to develop so many characters in detail. Speaking of the world, although I think it has fantasy climatology the development of the religious systems are very intricate and make the plots and issues surrounding Elisa more rich and believable. The plot follows well, using Elisa’s characterization as the driving force, and has many twists and turns. In fact, I feel like I picked up on a lot of clues that weren’t discussed in the book, like it is book one of an epic series (it may be, there is a sequel coming). My only problem in the book comes with Elisa’s character arc. In the beginning she is a sheltered princess who admits she is fat and likes food. As she gains a purpose, though, she grows skinnier and stops eating so much. I don’t think this is a good thing. There are so few overweight heroines for girls to look up to, I feel it’s a problem to tell girls that Elisa is only fat because she’s lazy, if you stop eating you will be skinny, and Elisa is only considered worthy when she is skinny (as a part of the skills she gains during the book). The rest of the book, though, is excellent, and worth reading.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard really good things about this one. It too has been sitting on my shelf for some time. I REALLY need to pick it up soon!