Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and ThornsSource: Purchased
Publisher: Greenwillow
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Edition: Hardcover, 423 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Purchase:AmazonBarnes & Noble / Book Depository *
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases

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.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns was one of my more anticipated YA fantasy novels. The hype for this series is massive and almost every review I’ve seen has been almost glowingly positive, unfortunately I don’t think mine will be. In short I enjoyed the overall fantasy and political intrigue, but lagged through much of the books.

The world-building for The Girl of Fire and Thorns is one of the things I really enjoyed. The landscapes and language is different than other fantasy novels and I loved that the land was rich with it’s own history, religion, and people. However I came to tire of religious aspect as it became a very big part of the story. I’m not big on religious feeling books but most of the time fictional religions, even those reverent in nature, don’t bother me. However it felt like I was being preached at, which I’m not fond of in general, but when it’s a religion that only exists between the covers of the book I get really irritated. The religion does lend some rather interesting new ideas, like the Godstone, and I did like seeing Elisa’s journey in becoming the one chosen by her god to change the world. The way Elisa plotted and planned for war and intrigue was fascinating and as the conflict built up I progressively became more interested. Unfortunately most of that occurs in the last third of the book.

Elisa has a lot of pros and cons as a main character. I was initially very excited to see a main character who isn’t the typical thin or athletic girl. She likes to eat and she doesn’t really like doing physical activities, so she’s clearly a girl after my own heart. BUT, she is incredibly negative…and it went beyond low self esteem. It honestly felt like negativity for the sake of negativity. She’s very down on herself about her weight and she feels shame when she eats large portions, but at no point does she attempt to stop doing the thing that causes her such shame…in fact there are moments where she does it in spite of the looks and giggles aimed at her. You can’t be ashamed of an activity only to wear it as a shield two seconds later. So I was somewhat relieved and disappointed when she loses some weight and becomes a bit more fit. I understand the necessity of her loosing weight and I even understand the bolster in confidence, but I was disappointed that no one (not even Elisa herself) bothered to make her feel like a normal person. And if they did have a high opinion of her most of them kept it to themselves until after her change in appearance.

I did like her friendship and budding relationship with Humberto, who was by far the sweetest person in the book. He was incredibly kind to her from the moment her met her onward, and to me he was probably one of the best side characters. Cosme was a great addition with her multifaceted skills and seemingly cold exterior.

I’m glad I stuck with the book instead of giving up like I wanted to around the 30% as it did get better and the overall conclusion was very satisfying. I see that Elisa has grown more confident in herself so I’m not worried about that aspect moving into the second book, I’m hoping that book two improves on some of the things that bothered me.

3.5 stars

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5 Responses to Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

  1. Christy says:

    I’ve been afraid to read this book because it’s fantasy. If you had a hard time during the first 30%, then I’m positive I wouldn’t be able to push through. I’m glad it worked out for you though.

  2. Woah, your review really sells this on me especially about the difference about the main character Elisa! Sounds like I can relate with the eating lol! Awesome review!

  3. Miss Mimz says:

    I might just be the only blogger in the world who still needs to read this one. I needed it in my life when it came out but I think all the buzz kind of put me off….I mean, what if I don’t like it as much as everyone seems to?! Needless to say seeing your review balances things out a bit for me,since you did enjoy it but had some issues with it as well. I’m sorry it didn’t blow you away like it seems to have done for many people though and I hope the sequel will improve for you! Thanks for the insightful review ^^

    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

  4. I like fantasy and this sounds interesting. I am not sure of the religious aspects.

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