Monday, December 23, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Sometimes I really hate being late to the party when it comes with books. It seems like everything's been said!

With the release of Bitter Kingdom and the host of praise I've seen on the trilogy all over the internet, I decided it was time for me to dive in. I brought The Girl of Fire and Thorns with me on my little trip (one of four - I read two) and read most of it while trying to tune out a screaming toddler on the plane.

Once every hundred years, a person is chosen for greatness. They bear the Godstone and are destined to serve. Elisa isn't sure why she was chosen, she's always felt that it must be a mistake. But now her will and her strength will be put to the test. Unbeknownst to her, forces are aligning to seek out the bearer. Her father arranges a marriage with the king in nearby Brisadulce as an opposing army plans for war. The marriage is meant to keep Elisa and the kingdom safe, but even as her journey begins the enemy grows ever closer. 

From the start, Carson's heroine is one who is easy to identify with and empathize with. She's a fish out of water - a bit awkward but highly intelligent and thoughtful. And she's brave! Elisa is strong in character and humility. She's a natural leader but she's also not without flaws and her true test is in attempting to overcome her weaknesses. Carson throws more than one obstacle in her path and as the story progresses Elisa really comes into her own. (Which of course is the point!)

In terms of plot there's a lot of political scheming going on in this first installment. This is a point that I think can easily become overwhelming and dry if not handled well but I really felt that Carson did a wonderful job. By setting Elisa up as a character who is already well read on military history and the like it's quite easy to believe that she'd be regarded as well as she is by the king, his peers, and others later on.

I'll be jumping into the second and third books very shortly so I do want to leave some things like the worldbuilding for later posts, but all in all this is a wonderful start to the trilogy and one I highly recommend to readers (teen and adult) looking for a great fantasy read.

Rating: 4.5/5

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