Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Girl of Fire and ThornsThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Published by Greenwillow on September 20, 2011
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 423
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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.

I’ve been on vacation in New York this past weekend, thus the no posting. I had a great time and I finished this book. Sadly, this book, which I was really excited about, proved rather disappointing. The cover promised fantasy in the vein of Kristin Cashore or Tamora Pierce, but it did not deliver.

For one thing, Elisa is not their kind of heroine. Pierce and Cashore write about extremely strong girls, the kind that, even when completely downtrodden, remain strong and determined. This, Elisa is not, although she does eventually gain in strength and confidence. At the end of the book, she is more like one of their heroines, but, in so many ways, she just does not bring them to mind at all.

I liked that Elisa was not the typical heroine at all, at least if I couldn’t have my Cashore-esque heroine. Elisa is overweight, lacks confidence and hopes to be able to marry an ugly man. It’s nice to read about someone so atypical sometimes. However, as has been pointed out by others, why would you represent her by the waif on the cover. Sure, the cover drew me in, but it now pisses me off. I mean, who is that? For one thing, she probably ways about 90 pounds soaking wet and, for another, she does not look particularly Spanish, as the character names suggest she should. Fortunately, the cover seems to have been changed for the published version. Good call.

The story kept me fairly interested, but I never felt particularly invested. The godstones always seemed weird and I found their ultimate use pretty dang lame. For those who like fantasy stories, unconventional heroines and don’t mind some serious religious content, this is worth a try. If you’re expecting something like Kristin Cashore would have written, go reread Graceling or fervently prey for the publication of Bitterblue. However, I know that lots of people have loved this, so go check out some of the high praise by others before dismissing it completely.

3 responses to “Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns”

  1. Oh, no sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as you would have liked. I’m interested in reading this one. Hope your vacation has been great.

  2. Nori says:

    I felt kind of the same way. I think I enjoyed the story and got more into it than you did, but really the back and cover were just so misleading.

  3. Lauren says:

    I really enjoyed this one, I can see how the cover might have been misleading though!

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