The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns
Publisher: Greenwillow
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Pages: 423, Hardcover

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.

I feel like I am a black smudge on the shining reviews of this book. I liked this book well enough - it kept my attention - but it didn't WOW me, which I was expecting after all the hype it got.

The plot was fairly well paced from page one; I never really felt a lag in the development of the story. There are a lot of people who want the godstone for themselves, and would happily rip it out of Elisa's navel rather than keep her alive. This danger was a central element to the story. Early into the book she is kidnapped from the palace and dragged across the desert to an abandoned people who are suffering at the hands of a foreign army with the power of animagus, sorcerers who wield the power of godstones in violence. They expect Elisa to be their salvation and Elisa must find a way to prevent their senseless slaughter.

I'd argue that whether or not you like this book depends on whether or not you like Elisa. And I couldn't decide if I liked her or not. On a few occasions I really admired her strength but too often I found her self-deprecating. As the bearer of the godstone, she was allegedly destined for greatness, but she felt unqualified for such responsibility. I can understand having doubts, naturally, but for much of this novel she expected failure without trying for any other outcome. She does conclude this book with more strength of will than she started with but it didn't come with the level of confidence deserved after achieving so much. I felt like she needed to give herself more credit rather than having another pity party. She had so many other redeemable qualities to sell herself so short.

I was pleasantly surprised to start this book and find that Elisa was an average looking and plump 16 year old girl rather than your more commonly found skinny-without-effort and prettier-than-she-realizes YA female lead. But  this healthy appetite of hers that I first found likable quickly revealed itself to be an unhealthy dependency on food. I am not going to talk about this more (because I am afraid I will rant) other than to say the focus was just too great and aimless.

My roller coaster impression of Elisa didn't effect my overall reading pleasure dramatically but it was a reason why I couldn't rate this book higher. The other reason was that I just didn't find myself as interested as other fantasy stories I've read recently, which could just be the timing of this read. I did like the other characters though, especially Cosme and Humberto and again the story had my attention easy enough. Thus ensues 3 stars. And I hear the sequel is better!



  1. It's too bad you didn't love this one as much as other reviews, but it happens. I love that the main character wasn't drop dead gorgeous like too many YA heroines, but it sucks that her food obsession got in the way of the story for you. That sounds like it should be in a contemporary issues book, not a fantasy one.

    1. RIGHT. I was really happy too that she wasn't perfect but the food focus just really got to me. I hope Elisa grows on me in the next book.

  2. I've had this book on my TBR for a long time, but something has always stopped me from starting it, probably because everyone else enjoyed it so much and I don't like going in with high expectations :) So it's good to hear that not everyone loved it.

    1. The hype might have affected my opinion somewhat too - which is always hard to avoid when you wait to read a popular book. I'm definitely going to give the next book a shot and then form my opinion about whether i'd recommend it or not.

  3. I really loved Elisa, we just connected. I liked how her appearance was so different and her development was wonderful. It's a shame you didn't love it as much as I did, but I hope that the next book works out better for you! (If you are going to read it? I certainly can't wait :D)


    1. I will definitely be reading it and I hope she grows on me. In some ways I liked her a lot! She had a lot of really good qualities but a few things got to me and it all just balanced out.

  4. I still have not read this book yet, but you are right...everyone keeps giving it such high praise. With that I really enjoyed reading your review to see another side of the spectrum. This is on my TBR pile and I'm sure I'll get to it eventually, but for right now I'm okay with having not read it yet. I know how hard it is to really enjoy a book if you are not a huge fan of the main character.

    1. I hate being the black sheep but it happens. And it probably had a lot to do with my connection to Elisa. I will definitely read the sequel.. i just don't know when hah. It's not on my mind right now although I have heard it was better!


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