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July 25, 2011

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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.
Ever since I was young, I've loved books about princesses and royalty and faraway lands; I suppose that is why I adored The Girl of Fire and Thorns so much. I finished my NetGalley copy in four hours flat, and spent hours trying to compose my thoughts about it. Let me tell you, putting this novel into words was no easy task.

Elisa is not your average princess. Throughout her life, she's been overshadowed by her older sister Alodia, who, unlike Elisa, is both beautiful and regal. While Alodia tends to affairs of the kingdom, Elisa is often found eating in the kitchens. She is nowhere near slender. However, there is one thing that makes Elisa stand out above the rest--she's the bearer of a Godstone. At some point in her life, Elisa will perform an act of Service to help her people. For now, however, she must deal with something perhaps much more frightening--a marriage to King Alejandro, who happens to be the most handsome man Elisa has ever seen, on her sixteenth birthday.

Anyone who reads my reviews knows that, in my opinion, strong main characters are essential to the plot of a book. I loved Elisa for quite a few reasons, but one most of all: despite her outward appearance, it is obvious from the very beginning that Elisa has the potential to be a brilliant Queen. She's intelligent, logical, forthright when she needs to be, and a good listener when necessary. Even though she doesn't always fit in, even if she doesn't have a clue how to win a man's heart, Elisa will always give her best effort to do what is right. She grew beautifully as the story progressed.

From the reviews I've seen so far, many people seem to think that The Girl of Fire and Thorns, with its many religious references, is directed toward a Christian crowd. I, on the other hand, don't really see it. There are lots of ideas about faith and God, but I think they're more meant to be a general message to the readers. Learning to always believe and keep your faith strong is something that anyone can relate to. Of course, that is just my opinion.

One thing that disappointed the little girl in me is the fact that this story didn't have a perfect happily ever after. Then again, it isn't the typical fairytale, so I'll get over the ending eventually. While I didn't fawn over a male character for once, I really appreciated the simple message conveyed through this story--don't ever stop believing in yourself. As a female with some insecurities, it's something that I constantly have to remind myself of. It was definitely nice to see it in a book. I'd recommend The Girl of Fire and Thorns to readers who enjoy a twist on fantasy and adventure. Whether you're male or female, I hope you love it as much as I did. I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel now!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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