Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns

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.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4  out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Action, adventure and girl power proponents
High point: The lifelike characters
Low point:  Too much focus on Elisa's size
Reader maturity: 15+
Just so you know how I feel about it up front, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is awesome. When I found it on the shelf at my local library, I squealed and lunged. My spastic outburst was not in vain. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a swashbuckling (though not pirate-related) story of adventure and intrigue with a healthy dose of self-confidence and girl power added in for extra reading enjoyment.

The Girl herself, Elisa, starts out as a weak character (in personality, not in development) and experiences a unique journey to an appreciation of her abilities. The novel focuses on weight and size more than I would have preferred--the emphasis could have been on her cessation of stress-induced binge eating and an appreciation of her body's abilities in its current state--but Elisa is strong even before her adventures, whether or not she knows. Therein lies Elisa's magic. She discovers her strengths through her journeys, but she was already an incredible, if untested, person.

There are a lot of characters in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but Rae Carson manages to make each one special and forge an emotional connection with the reader, however brief the encounter. Descriptions of scenery and legend thoroughly immersed me in each stage of Elisa's life. I could picture the castles and the desert as if they were right in front of me.

As for reader maturity, there are some references to adult activities (Elisa gets married in the first chapter so...), but there's nothing vulgar or objectionable (or, SPOILER ALERT, really anything at all, just a discussion and Elisa's musings).

If you're looking for a solid adventure story with a satisfying emotional component, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a great pick.

Title:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author:  Rae Carson
Genre:   Fiction - Fantasy
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Borrowed from library

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