The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, pub. 2011, 423 pg.
Rating: 4/5 stars
I’ve been having an enormous amount of luck with choosing books this summer. Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson was another amazing novel, and now that I’ve finished, I can’t wait to get my hands on its sequel.
Elisa isn’t a conventional princess. Unlike her slender and elegant sister, she is chubby and prefers spending time with her nurse and her lady in waiting to attending court functions. She also bears the Godstone, a sacred jewel bestowed upon one person by God each century that seemingly connects her to a higher power and signals that she will commit a great act of service. At sixteen, she is suddenly and secretly married off to the young, widowed king of a neighboring kingdom. Her homeland and her new country are on the brink of war with invaders from the north, and Elisa may be the only one who can bring peace and safety to the ones she loves.
I loved Elisa so much. She is such a fabulously flawed character and someone readers can see bits of themselves in. When we first meet her, she’s self-conscious, easily embarrassed, and almost painfully shy at times. By the time the book ends, she has evolved entirely into one of the strongest characters I’ve read in recent memory.
The plot is amazing and intricate, bouncing from serious to silly in a matter of pages, but never losing its elegant tone. The Godstone was extremely interesting, and I loved reading how it interacted with Elisa and learning more about what it is and what it does as she learns. The only thing that lost me a little bit was its location (mostly because the stone is lodged in Elisa’s bellybutton, a body part that is entirely comical to me).
Seriously, though, this book has everything (I’m sorry if it seems like I say that about every book I read, I’ve just been reading a lot of good ones lately). It’s full of adventure, action, battles, bloodshed, unrequited love, requited love, sorrow, joy, magic…and the list goes on and on. There are spies and betrayal and so many elements that keep you on your toes. Several times I though I’d guessed what was coming next, but it was never what I expected.
Fans of fantasy should definitely pick this one up. Carson created an amazing world that could very much be our own in a different time. Even if you don’t usually like books about war and magic and love, give this one a shot anyway. The ending alone is worth it.