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The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Book rating: 04 Hardback Girl of Fire and Thorns (Hardcover)

By (author) Rae Carson

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  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Format: Hardback | 423 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 211mm x 41mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 20 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0062026488
  • ISBN 13: 9780062026484
  • Sales rank: 41,533

Product description

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'ssavior, 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.

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Customer reviews

By MissPageTurner 28 Nov 2013 4

The blue gemstone in Elisa's navel is a sign for the divine purpose she's destined to fulfill. Chosen by God like many others before her every century. Married to King Alejandro de Varga, Elisa is expected to fit into her new role as future Queen of Joya d'Arena. Until she is kidnapped by revolutionaries and has to choose her very own path.
Finding her path has to be understood figuratively as literally. Elisa is travelling a lot whether she wants to or not. She leaves her home of Orovalle for Joya d'Arena, most of the route leads her through desert areas of great expanses. I really would have liked a map to go with the story so I could have followed Elisa's journey more easily. She's living in a war-torn country and that's why there were too many discussions about strategy and stretched marches through the desert that lacked all kinds of excitement.
It must have been the long and tedious journey that clouded my senses and made me unresponsive for Elisa's desert romance.
Central to the story are high beliefs in God, thorough praying, a profound historical background and tellings of former Godstone-bearers.


3,5/5 ***/* THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS - Have a little faith and this could be an adventurous journey!

Elisa's special because she's a Godstone-bearer. But her ways of communicating with God weren't exactly what made her appealing as a main character but the metamorphosis she's undergoing in so many different ways. For fans of GRACELING by Kristin Cashore, LEGACY by Cayla Kluver or A TOUCH OF POWER by Maria V. Snyder.

By Pretty Little Reader 08 Nov 2012 5

The Girl of Fire and Thorns completely blew me away. Strong character development, a suspenseful and thrilling plot and wonderful world-building combined to make a story I fell in love with.

At first, Elisa was not an easy character to love; she was a young and naive girl, content with being sheltered from court politics and current affairs in order to study the history of other Godstone bearers in the hopes of being better prepared for her destiny of service. Self-conscious of her bulging figure and terrified of the unknown, she was quite self-deprecating. She turned to food for comfort, especially when she realized her new husband was merely humouring her while secretly coveting another. But after being forced to move a month's journey from her homeland, after being taken into captivity by a group of people determined for her to be their saviour, and then choosing to rise above it all, Elisa became a heroine to be proud of. Her growth was staggering in measure, but gradual in nature considering it spans months of trials and tribulations, of heartache and pain. By the end of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa was eager to offer counsel, eager to jump into a leadership role, decisive in the face of her husband's indecisiveness and more terrified then ever, yet finally unafraid to act.

The secondary characters in The Girl of Fire and Thorns were just that - secondary - but their importance to the plot and Elisa's maturity were irrefutable. She was able to realize her initial feelings for Alejandro were childish, after her experiences with Humberto. She learned that Hector's coldness was his attempt to mask his feelings, after her experiences with Cosme. She was only able to piece together the history of the Godstones because of the various priests who helped provide different parts of the puzzle. She was forced to grow up because those around her expected nothing less. Each character brought something to the table that Elisa needed - whether it was moral support, an encouraging smile or a kick in the ass. While none of them truly stood out in a specific or memorable fashion, I did find myself growing fond of many of them. And without each one of them, I can't imagine the plot having flowed nearly as smoothly.

And what a plot it was! Deception, betrayal, lies, secrets, action, suspense, romance - The Girl of Fire and Thorns had it all! I was completely captivated from the first page, thanks to Carson's attention to detail. I was on sensory overload with sights, sounds - even tastes! - brought to life through Elisa's experiences. The religious mythos that Carson created was layered and complex, adding a depth and richness that I found addictive. Even the pacing was phenomenal - starting off slow, and gradually building into a crescendo of twists and turns that left me breathless!

If you haven't already figured it out, I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns! My expectations of a chubby girl spouting off religious propaganda were blown out of the water as I was lucky enough to experience such a unique and intriguing religious mythos through an intelligent and confident heroine.

By Alex 15 May 2012 4

The title promises fantasy smothered in girliness, which was exactly what I was after and which was exactly what the book provided. If that puts you off, fear not, for The Girl of Fire and Thorns is not some sparkly romance but a solid fantasy adventure with lovely writing. Yes, there is romance, but it's not heavy-handed and it serves to enhance the story - that is, the romance is an enhancement to the plot but not the plot itself.

Our heroine, Elisa, is a fat princess born with a magical stone in her navel. On her sixteenth birthday she marries the handsome king of a desert land. Pulled into this other world, she becomes embroiled in court politics and the war that plagues Joya d'Arena. Further problems arise when revolutionaries get involved, dissatisfied with the way the war is being handled. Throughout all of this, a key issue for Elisa is what it means to be bearer of the Godstone.

Elisa herself is a likeable protagonist. She's the "imperfect" princess, easy for a reader to identify with and root for. Her narration has a simple yet plush quality which makes the book a breeze to read - the detailed descriptions of food being a particular indulgence. Carson has written in a rich culture and religion, making it easy to immerse yourself in Elisa's world.

The plot rollicks along at a good pace, each chapter being written in a way that entices you to read the next. It's not ground-breaking stuff, but it is interesting and I was never sure what was going to happen next. The slower moments add a lot of charm; things like Elisa's visit to the monastery are a gentle contrast to the more plot-heavy parts and contribute to the pleasant feeling of "girliness" of the book. While the plot is ultimately resolved in a satisfactory manner and the book does work as a standalone, certain loose ends make me suspect that it was written with a sequel in the offing. A quick search just now has confirmed my suspicions - The Crown of Embers is due out in September this year.

There were a few aspects of the book that I didn't like. Some characters felt shoehorned into particular stereotypes, despite us not knowing enough to make that decision for ourselves. Another thing was that the romance occasionally didn't transition well with the plot in general. That being said, I never did know where the potential love triangle stuff was going to go and it was done in a fairly believable manner. If you think this is indifferent of me, note that Elisa is a teenage girl and that this is a novel for teens while I am a shrivelled old prune with a heart of stone.

I feel that my review cannot be complete without a mention of the book's cover. While nice to look at, it bugs me that the girl in the picture is so white. Elisa is described as "dark" more than once, and even if the choice to make her so pale is for graphic design reasons (to contrast white against blue), the result carries unfortunate implications. The UK cover features a darker girl and I prefer it on principle alone. Your mileage may vary on whether this is even an issue.

Overall I found this to be a very enjoyable read. Fans of Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce would find much to enjoy in Carson's debut. My criticisms, as you can tell, are really nitpicks based on subjective taste. Recommended for someone in the mood for a girlish fantasy adventure with a decent plot.

By Gwenyth Love 31 Oct 2011 4

This is a beautifully written first novel by Rae Carson. It is reminiscent of a younger, more toned down storytelling type such as Jacqueline Carey is known for in her Kushiel series. The language is so vivid and imaginative. I can picture every single thing that is happening in the book, like a little movie playing out in my head.

"Beside me, Ximena's gray bun has come loose and her hair swings below her shoulders."

I am immediately intrigued by this gem that is somehow located in Elisa's bellybutton area. But I am guessing that is the point! It's very interesting how it reacts to Elisa's emotions and actions with heat and cold, almost as if it is a living creature, yet hard as stone.

I think Elisa, the main character and heroine of this novel, is one of my favourite female characters in a long time. She is not perfect. She is not the ultimate slender and stunningly beautiful lead that is most often seen. She is "lumpy" and "awkward" and "clumsy", and she is much more likely for readers to be able to understand. Her sister is the family favourite and as such Elisa is often ignored and pushed aside, invisible.

One of my favourite things about this book is that not only is Elisa described as an overweight girl, but it's not just pointed out once in the beginning of the novel and then never mentioned again, hoping the reader will forget she isn't perfect. It's brought up over and over again throughout the whole story, without being too obvious. It is noted in her actions, and in the way the people around her perceive her and react to her. It is amazingly woven in.

"I feel so slow as I run toward my husband, my belly and breasts bouncing painfully with each step."

As the story progress and certain things occur it is interesting how the author even works in some fluctuations in her weight, eating style and overall appearance and character as her life forces her down different paths. She experiences amazing growth throughout the story and ultimately works toward and deserves the strong role her character is placed in. And it's not just Elisa, all characters get equal treatment from the author with vivid descriptions and depth of emotion and overall character development. Every character is their own person who exists and struggles with their own stories, emotions and experiences their own growth.

There is enough action in this story to keep even the most overactive boys sitting eagerly on the edge of their seat. Add to that all the mystery, intrigue and politics and you have the making of a great novel!

Some parts of the story are highly predictable and therefore take the shock and awe out of what takes place. Also, many of the areas I found lacking flow and very jolting to the reader, hopping from one part of the story to another without any kind of warning pause or break. There are also some minor editing issues with missing words, incorrect words and spelling errors which jolt the reader from their reading flow, but as this is an ARC it is to be expected.

By Maria Guajardo (GABY) 18 Sep 2011 5

I was so excited about this book! Elisa sounded different than the usual protagonist and I'm glad it didn't disappointed me.

Elisa is sixteen years old and the chosen one. One day, when she was just newly born, a light surrounded her and now she has a jewel in her body, marking her as the chosen one. The chosen one is destined to fulfill a prophecy, but no one can see Elisa as the chosen one. She's just a young, fat and dumb princess.

I really liked Elisa. She starts as this shy and sometimes dumb girl but transforms into a strong and intelligent woman. It wasn't easy, and her journey is long and difficult, starting with her "secret" marriage and then being kidnapped.

Sometimes I thought the other characters asked too much from her. From the beginning it is kind of obvious nobody thinks she can fulfill the prophecy, but at the same time nobody helped her. They kept secrets from her, like what exactly does the prophecy says, or what are the dangers she has to face when the time comes.

But it works out because Elisa finally realizes she has to be strong and do things for herself to survive. Her journey is full of adventures and a sweet and very innocent romance, which left me surprised and kind of sad at the end.

They only thing that kept me from loving this book 100% was that I thought it was kind of ridiculous (and not at all realistic) the fact that she had a jewel in her belly, or that the jewel seemed to had a life of it own.

Overall, I really liked The Girl of Fire and Thorns and I can't wait for the sequel, The Crown of Embers. I enjoyed Elisa's adventures and I think she's a great example for young girls.

Review quote

"I LOVED this book! It's a transformation story that both teens and adults can believe in. Rae Carson has delivered a unique magical system and built a world with strong series potential."--Cinda Williams Chima, author of the best-selling Seven Realms series