Series: Fire and Thorns book #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hit the shelves on: September 20, 2011
Find on Barnes & Noble
Summary (from Goodreads)
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 Rating: (**and a half**)
How’d it get on my shelf?
It’s been on my TBR list for quite some time. Ever since I saw the beautiful cover and catchy title and realized that it’s one of my favorite genres I decided I had to read it… so I got the book from the library to fulfill January’s book for my Monthly Key Word Challenge. (yes I know it says Feb 1st… but I promise I read it in January and just didn’t get a chance to put the post up until just after midnight!)
I’m definitely having a hard time putting a clear cut rating on this read… it’s one of those moments where my lower rating has far more to do with my personal preferences than with the book. So I’m leaning more toward a 3.5 than a 3. There were so many things I loved, but a few things that just managed to irritate me the whole way through (mostly personal preference).
For starters Rae Carson’s writing was just beautiful. I loved the vocabulary, style, flow… basically all of it. She managed to conjure so many amazing images in my head of Elisa’s world, I felt like all the details were there without being over-explained (**over done detail is one of my biggest pet peeves… it drives me over the edge!**). The pace of the book was really quick from beginning to end, you immediately get drawn into action and suspense from the start which never really slows down too much.
One of the things I truly loved was that Carson created a heroine that is so outside of what I’m used to… normally the main female (even if they have self-esteem issues and don’t know it themselves) is your standard issue gorgeous, thin, and magazine cover type of girl. Elisa struggles with weight issues from the beginning, yet her self-esteem problems have more to do with being the younger sibling (and a princess) than they do with vanity over her appearance. At one point in the book someone calls her fat, and she actually laughs. Throughout the story Princess Elisa goes through so many things that make her learn to believe in her own value. I enjoyed that Elisa was very intelligent and had a healthy does of common sense (most of the time). I really liked most of the supporting characters too, the King’s personal guard Lord Hector, Elisa’s maid Ximenia, King Alejandro, Prince Rosario…. I really don’t want to give anything away so I won’t describe them (read it yourself if you want to know!), but I will say that another thing Carson does really well is building personalities and back stories for the other characters.
Now, the few things that kept this from being 4 stars… The lack of romance was a little disappointing for me. There were some hints that it was there, or going to be there, and then it just never happened! I am a sucker for the romance. Elisa’s unhealthy desire for the approval of King Alejandro from the very moment she see’s him is also a little disappointing. For all her common sense she just can’t make herself ignore his charm and charisma?!?! WTF… even after she finds out crappy things about him she finds her self hoping he’ll decide he loves her? I just couldn’t handle it when she seemed so grounded in the common sense department the rest of the story. The other thing that held me back was how heavily religion came into the main plot. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I dislike religion or don’t believe in it… I just don’t really like quite so much of it… like I said it was personal preference that kept me from falling completely in love with A Girl of Fire and Thorns.
One thing this book definitely did was turn me into a Rae Carson fan… I just loved her writing style. A Girl of Fire and Thorns flowed really well from one page to the next, there was amazing dialogue, quirky characters, and a new world that just sucks you in with gorgeous details. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, but I’m hoping for a little more romance and a little less just idolizing the idea of romance from Elisa. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys high fantasy and doesn’t mind a heavy dose of religion thrown in.