Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Page Count: 432
Series: 1st in trilogy
Release Date: September 20, 2011
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 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 needs 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 had not read a full summary before starting The Girl of Fire and Thorns. So much of what you read above was a complete SHOCK to me! I must say, I didn't know what you expect from Carson since the story started off with foreign names and places thick with accents. But once I found my grounding in Princess Elisa's world, I fell deeply in love.
Blessed with a Godstone in her belly, Elisa is constantly living under the scrutiny of those around her. Everyone expects great things from her--waiting for her to fulfill her Service. However, so far, she feels like a disappointment. She is not a beauty or well-spoken like her older sister. She finds solace in food and the company of her studies. She is insecure and self-conscious--in other words, flawed and human. As a reader, you will sympathize with Elisa, but never pity her. You learn early on that she has a sharp wit and an eye for knowledge. Trusting the intuition of the Godstone and praying for guidance, she has the foresight to see how to handle situations and understand people.
In sharp contrast to Elisa is her betrothed, King Alejandro. Married as part of an arrangement between their two kingdoms, theirs is not a marriage of love. As much as Alejandro is supposed to be a handsome (and desirable) king, there is always something a bit off about him. I found myself regarding him with distaste and suspicion. He is indecisive and fearful for much of the story. Even though his is Elisa's husband, I started rooting for her to find someone more worthy, so I was very pleased to meet Humberto. Humberto is swoon-worthy. He's brave, protective, and his eyes linger on Elisa just enough to make you melt. His love for her is subtle but heartwarming. I was sighing every time he came onto the page. (Yes, Rae Carson made me fall in love with a fictional boy!) Humberto's love for her is bittersweet and tinged with sadness.
I absolutely refuse to give away any more details or plots because it is such a wonderful discovery full of heartbreak and triumph. You feel like you are on Elisa's journey with her. That you are right alongside her as she searches for a way to fulfill her Service and destiny. You want her to surpass everyone's expectations and beat the odds. In short, you find yourself a champion.
Though Carson left the story at what felt like a complete ending, there is room left for more. I am eager to see where she takes the story next. This is one trilogy that will be worth the wait. The Crown of Embers is planned for Fall 2012, and The Bitter Kingdom for Fall 2013.
Though I got off to a slow start with this one, once I had a fresh pair of eyes on it--I absolutely could not put it down. I found myself giving up sleep & work (SHHH!) to finish this one. A rich, engaging world with a hint of magic and "other" elements. You will fall in love with the cast of characters, especially Elisa and Humberto! I highly recommend this one if you loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore or Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon.
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Reviewed by: ch3rrybl0ss0m
Courtesy of netGalley
Courtesy of netGalley