Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins 8/21/12
Length: 320 Pages
Series: Girl of Fire and Torns #1
The first book in the acclaimed and award-winning New York Times bestselling trilogy. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a remarkable novel full of adventure, sorcery, heartbreak, and power.
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, and 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 her to be 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. 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.
Well, the summary above sort of gives you a sense of what this story is about, but really doesn’t give you at all the full picture of the journey that we’re about to embark on. Yes Elisa is the second sister, the one who’s not beautiful in a standard sense (she’s fuller figured) and her older sister is the one being groomed to be queen, but Elisa is the bearer of the Godstone for the century and we get to see what that means for her since there are prophesies about what the bearer is supposed to do. No one has truly seen the greatness completed aside from a few great tasks, so Elisa feels like she’s unworthy all around. When she’s married off to the king of the largest domain, her sister gives her some great advice to act as the queen that she can be and everyone will follow.
So what we get is a coming of age story here of Elisa and what it means for Elisa to see her true potential both in herself and as someone who can lead others. She’s hoping for a friendship with her new husband but he decides to keep her a secret to his people while also keeping his mistress, and that doesn’t bode well for a healthy relationship. it’s only when Elisa is kidnapped after some discover that she’s got the Godstone that the story truly takes shape.
Elisa finds herself with a clan of travelers led by the ‘maid’ Cosme – and while trying to survive the desert with them, she not only sheds weight and becomes the lean beautiful one, she learns about herself in ways that she never knew, and that means that her future is completely open.
She’s poised to be great in the face of war, if only she understood what her future was supposed to be. She’s devout, studying the writings of the past over and over again, and even gets her hands on some that her country has kept a secret from her which truly guides her down her path to success. It’s nice to see that she’s open to putting the puzzle together of what she should be able to do, and realizes at the same time that she can’t do it alone.
Of course as we have come to expect in these types of books, there is war – there are people who use magic and those who use fire and weapons to overpower nations who have what they want. we see that alliances were formed out of the wrong intentions and when we find out who’s lied to whom, it makes us really second guess who we can trust in this story.
The question that we have throughout this first installment is whether Elisa is strong enough and cunning enough to help save her ‘husband’s’ country – and if she even wants to. She’s made sound and strong friendships with those who may not be on his side and she has started to realize that maybe there’s love elsewhere that she should be focused on.
All in all a great start to this series – i’m not entirely sure where it can go though given that we got a lot of closure in this first book, but i think that i’m going to continue on and see what comes next. Enjoy!