The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

8:00 AM

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1)
Author: Rae Carson
Release Date: September 20, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 432
Source: ARC provided by publisher 

Overall: 4 Stars

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, and 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 her to be 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.

My Thoughts:
For some reason, I was rather hesitant to read The Girl of Fire and Thorns when I first heard about the novel... but after hearing tons of praise for it, I was eager to read it for myself too! I'm glad the publisher decided to change the cover because the original just doesn't capture the novel like the new one does. When I look at this cover, I can tell at glance that I'm in store for a fantasy adventure... and that's exactly what Rae Carson delivers in her debut novel!

Rae Carson has truly created another world with The Girl of Fire and Thorns! The descriptions of the setting are rich and detailed... and to say a lot of thought has been placed in carefully outlining the political aspects and traditions of each country would probably be an understatement. It's been awhile since I last read a fantasy novel such as this one, so I'll admit, I did feel a little overwhelmed sometimes by all the information which was suddenly flooding in.

While there is certainly some romance in the novel, it didn't play a central part. The Girl of Fire and Thorns focuses on Elisa as she grows into a powerful young woman who has more confidence in herself as an individual... and as someone who must lead a great nation of people. Although she is bound for a great destiny, she has doubts about her body-image and how she can possibly live up to everyone's expectations. It was refreshing to see Elisa begin to take charge as gained more self-esteem! (Also, on the topic on characters, I must mention that I have a soft spot for Lord Hector!)

I was also surprised by how much religion is involved in The Girl of Fire and Thorns as it has an integral part of the story. Elisa has been marked with a Godstone, something that only occurs once a century, and it makes her feel more connected with God than anyone else. In addition to always being concerned about the well-being of those around her, Elisa's beliefs and faith are constantly in the foreground of her decisions.  While there is definitely magic involved to give the novel a fantasy edge, The Girl of Fire and Thorns also explores how religion and power can influence a person's actions in the midst of so much turmoil.

The first in a trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a well-executed YA fantasy that you'll be sure to enjoy! I honestly had no idea what to expect as I read along because as soon as I thought the novel would lead one way, it would completely twist in another direction. It certainly kept me on my toes as I tried to figure out what would happen next to the characters! Danger is still lurking around the corner for Elisa and company... and I can't wait to see what will happen in Crown of Embers when it's released next year!

Thanks so much to HarperCollins Canada for providing this review copy!

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  1. Yes I totally can't wait to read this. Thanks for the great review.

  2. Thanks for the review, I'm still pretty on the fence with this one, as I don't really read that much fantasy and the hype makes me nervous.

    You to make it sound like a solid read though, so I guess it will go on the maybe pile.


  3. High five; I'm a total Lord Hector fan too :) One of my favourite things about fantasies is the worldbuilding and I loved that Carson put so much thought into hers. The places all felt so realistic.

  4. I won a copy of this and now I'm more excited to read it! Seems like I've read a lot of dystopia, contemp and paranormal lately, so I'd like a good fantasy. Thanks for your thoughts Liz!

  5. I really liked that this book took someone who had low self esteem, and didn't seem that capable, and we got to see the ways in which adversity strenthened her and let her true character shine through. Although she didn't seem very heroic initially it was wonderful to see Elisa rise to the occasions called for, building on her strengths. I also liked how you saw Elisa's character grow without seeing her inexplicably do amazing things--she managed amazing things, but she worked hard for them.