The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Book One of the Fire and Thorns series
Published September 20, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
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I read this as an ebook on my Kindle Paperwhite.
“‘Honor from death,’ I snap, ‘is a myth. Invented by the war torn to make sense of the horrific. If we die, it will be so that others may live. Truly honorable death, the only honorable death, is one that enables life.'” pg. 206
As the bearer of the Godstone, all 16 years of her life, Lucero-Elisa is told she is destined for greatness, but it is when she marries the King, that she comes face-to-face with everyone’s expectations of the bearer and the decisions she’s not certain she can make.
For a full synopsis, visit Goodreads.
There has been no buzz about a movie adaptation for this book.
Lately, I had been experiencing a Laini Taylor hangover. After finishing her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, I had trouble finding books that matched the brilliance of her world-building, the depth of her plot, and more importantly, her beautiful writing.
One of the books I came across on Goodreads was The Girl of Fire and Thorns. It had actually been sitting in my Kindle for a while now so finally I decided, what the heck let’s give it a shot. And I was delighted.
This was like a Joan of Arc meets The Winner’s Curse meets Throne of Glass–yet so unique in its own right. Does that make any sense at all?
(Let me explain the Godstone a bit. Every 100 years a baby is born with a stone in his/her navel, considered the Godstone. The individual with this stone has a higher purpose, destined to be God’s tool for good. This obviously can be a major kill joy for this person because his or her life is in constant danger and dependent upon any person’s interpretation of God’s intentions. And talk about high expectations! We grow up with our parents expecting we get into an Ivy League or become doctors, Elisa is expected to fulfill God’s will. Whatever that may be. Phew! We got it easy!)
The heroine in this series by Rae Carson was unlike any I’ve read before. She was chubby! And I know what you’re thinking. Usually when a book is told in the first person and the protagonist says she’s fat, she really means that she’s not model-skinny. But in this case, she really was chubby! Elisa, who loved to read and ate pastries and had an arranged marriage with the King, was a fantastic character. Each situation she found herself in was due to outside forces but she was able to adapt and push herself to her limits. Not only was Elisa an intellectual, but she was also street-smart, with the ability to think on her feet. I especially loved how she did not allow herself to wallow in self-pity. Yes, she had her doubts regarding her potential and she often compared herself to her more eloquent older sister, but Elisa also embraced her individuality and was always self-aware. As the book progresses, her level of maturity was evident and the reader was shown how courage and faith were required to make decisions.
Aside from my love towards the main character, the mystery of the Godstone was intriguing. Religion played a major role in this book, influencing a number of nations and ultimately was the catalyst in many of the character’s actions, but I didn’t get the sense that this was a “religious” book. It wasn’t preachy or anything. So please don’t get discouraged in reading this book because you typically steered clear of any religious topics or discussions. I was the same way, and yet I appreciated this The Girl of Fire and Thorns immensely.
The idea of prayer to appease the Godstone only further exemplified how much willpower Elisa had because that required In fact, Elisa’s prayer habit only further exemplified to me how much she excels in “mind over matter”. The overall commentary on how religion can be used as a tool to foster ignorance or to push a certain agenda made the themes of this book universal.
In regards to the love story. Okay, so it wasn’t very prominent in this book. And yet I still liked it so much! See how much this book defied my usual preferences?! But…I do have a feeling romance will play a bigger part in book two. At least I’m hoping. If I was reading the signs correctly.
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
I only wish that Rae Carson described the world she was building with more detail. I didn’t feel as if Elisa’s world was tangible enough. However, I am definitely excited to read the rest of this series and is only waiting for its availability on Thrift Books to continue.
Among the many that found this book enjoyable: Veronica Roth. Read her Goodreads review here.