Review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, By Rae Carson
My husband and I were laughing recently about the number of books that I've read lately where the title starts off with "The Girl....". I've enjoyed most of them, so what's one more? When my sister-in-law recommended this one, I figured it was worth picking up, and boy was I pleased that I took her recommendation. So to start off, let me say that wow, while this book is nothing like I expected, it is in a totally good way.
The book started out with Elisa, an insecure, overweight princess, trying to fit into her bridal gown, awaiting her arranged marriage to a King she has never met. She dreads the idea, and drowns her sorrow in pastry.
But there is something extremely unique about this girl. As a baby, at her naming ceremony, she was chosen by God to do something great. As a sign of His choosing, he placed in her navel a gemstone that served as a connection between her and God. It responded to her joys, to dangers, and warmed as she prayed.
As the bearer of this sign of God's choosing, she knows in her head that God has some great act of service for her to accomplish, but in her heart she doubts that she could ever be used to do anything of value. She is not her powerful father, nor her wise sister. She's just a pitiful princess.
On her wedding night, after just meeting her new husband for the first time, he tells her that his desire in a wife is for a friend. Ouch. I mean, I'm friends with my husband, but he is so much more than just a friend, if you know what I mean. Anyway, wants a friend, and he isn't yet ready to tell his kingdom about how he has gotten married. Did I mention that it was a secret marriage?
At this point I'm thinking, okay... So this book is going to be all about pity-party-princess learning to see her own self worth, and in the end she and her husband will live happily ever after.
Oh man! I was wrong! So many CRAZY twists and turns in the story. Seriously, for the entire book I has no clue what would happen next, right up to the very end. I love how Elisa's character grew and matured throughout the book, along with many of the other characters. Great development of both characters as well as plot.
This book really has it all. Sure you've got the princess and the handsome hero, but you also have dessert journeys, magic and evil sorcerers, great battles, narrow escapes, ancient mysteries, and some unexpected heroes.
Well done, Rae Carson. Well Done.
Note: This is not a paid endorsement, and I have not received any form of compensation for this review. Rae Carson and Greenwillow Books Publishers have no clue who I am.