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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Series:  Fire and Thorns Trilogy, Book 1
Author:  Rae Carson
Genre:  YA, fantasy
Format:  E-Book, 299 pages
Publication Date:  September 20, 2011
Published By:  HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Source:  ARC from NetGalley







Synopsis from Goodreads

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. 


My Thoughts

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.

6 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great book. I think it's hard to find a good balance between plot driven and character driven stories, but this sounds like it is ample on the character side :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. Thanks for reading Jackie. Don't get me wrong, there is a whole ton of awesome plot to push this story along as well, I think I was just overly happy with the quality characters.

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  3. Totally understand what you mean about an action plot, but I think for me, it was the writing style that didn't work too well for me. I mean, I thought it was beautiful, but kind of "stiff". Anyway, great review though! I agree on many of your points!

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  4. I'm sorry to hear that Jinny. But thank you for stopping by to check out my review!

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  5. I've not read the Kushiel books but I mean to, hopefully soon. :)

    Good review! I read this recently and I really liked it. The fact that Elisa wasn't a 'perfect' girl was one of my favorite parts of the book as well. She starts out as someone with very low confidence and her character development was really enjoyable to read about. She's definitely a heroine I admire. While I was reading, I swear I could almost feel the coldness of the stone against my own belly and feel the sweltering heat as Elisa and the others trek across the desert! (also, it may or may not be partly due to the fact that my AC broke down and it was really hot that night :P)

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    1. Ha! Great comment! Yes!!! I could feel everything the main character was feeling. The writing was so vivid! I cannot wait for book two! Thanks for stopping by!

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