Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1)
by: Rae Carson
Publication Date: Sept. 20, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from e-Library
Page Count: 423 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars
I really liked this book. I picked it up yesterday afternoon and found myself drawn into the world that Carson developed for us. I'm the type of reader, where, if the book pulls me in straightaway and I keep thumbing through the pages, then I'm going to enjoy the read. But if I'm not completely pulled into that world, where my real life surroundings dissipate, then it just doesn't work for me.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns definitely pulled me in, despite the fact that I didn't like Elisa (our protagonist) at first. I felt for her, I did, but I don't think she really tried hard enough to be worthy of being the Chosen One... at first. We are introduced to a girl who feels inferior to her beautiful, knowledgeable, and well-versed sister. The two share a strained relationship and Elisa, although she bears the Godstone (which is only bestowed on one person every century) would rather stuff her face with food when the going got tough.
She is forced to marry King Alejandro of another kingdom for alliance purposes, and she prays that he is fat and ugly, just to make herself feel better. Instead, he is the most handsome man she's ever seen.
Elisa's life changes drastically upon reaching her new kingdom, and Alejandro asks her to keep their marriage a secret, introducing her as the princess, and an honored guest. I think this bothers Elisa, even though Alejandro has already told her he wishes them to be friends. I liked Alejandro's character at first, and then not so much after that. I understand his wish for friendship with Elisa. I'm glad Carson didn't delude us into thinking they would fall in love instantaneously. However, as the King, Alejandro is weak and fearful. As a father, he is neglectful. Elisa recognizes that as do others, which is why her counsel is sought during a Quorum meeting and why she takes so strongly to little prince Rosario.
The biggest thing I liked about this book, is that we really get to see Elisa change. From the moment she sets out for her new kingdom, she is slowly transforming into a different person due to key events. By the end of the book, Elisa is no longer a weak character, but she becomes strong and as Hector, captain of the King's Guard, says "she is full of steel". She definitely becomes a strong female protagonist who will fight for her kingdom and her friends. Again, Elisa doesn't just change on her own, but rather it is a slow build up, and I like that.
As for the other characters, I am excited to see more of Hector in the second book. He didn't play a huge role in this one, but he proved to be a friend that Elisa needed because he trusted and believed in her. Ximena, her nurse maid, is also wonderful to her. She understands Elisa and is her solace throughout the beginning of the novel.
I know a lot of people didn't ever warm up to Cosmé's character, but I did. We first met her as the Condesa Ariña's lady in waiting. Ariña, evil witch that she is, sends Cosmé to spy on Elisa, but it backfires as Elisa requests her as her lady in waiting permanently. Cosmé is icy and unfriendly, but she has her reasons.Cosmé finds out that Elisa carries the Godstone, which sets another series of events into motion. Through those events, Elisa meets Cosmé's brother Humberto. Humberto is instantly kind to her and she ends up falling for him, despite the fact she knows they cannot be together.
I think Carson also handed the faith and religious aspect quite well. It wasn't overdone to me and I thought it fit perfectly with the story.
This review was difficult for me to write because there were so many elements in this story and I don't want to give anything away for those who have not read it.
Overall, I like these historical/fantasy books. I loved Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and I liked Cayla Kluver's Legacy trilogy.
I have Crown of Embers waiting for me, so I will start that sometime soon.