Book #1 – Fire and Thorns Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy Ebook borrowed from the Library
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.
D.G.’s Rating: 3.5 skulls (B)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns has a very familiar YA premise: an insecure girl finds her path to greatness. Chosen by God, she’s supposed to deliver her people from evil but she doesn’t know how. The book deals with her transformation from pastry-obsessed, self-conscious girl to secure leader.
The most interesting aspect of the story was the conflict, which centered in doctrinal differences among different groups. They all had a different interpretation of God’s will and they were willing to kill for it (where have I seen that before…) The use of a (sort of) Spanish for the names of places and people (Brisadulce for instance means ‘Sweet Breeze’) as well as the descriptions of the land and their inhabitants made me think of the Moors and the Spanish and their showdown in the Fall of Granada. But I was disappointed in the way the book ended because it seemed as if God took sides.
My feelings for Elisa were a bit ambivalent. She’s a decent person, smart, strong when she needs to be, and not annoying or TSTL but I felt that some of her issues were just an attempt to elicit sympathy instead of real character traits. It didn’t make sense to me that she was so insecure. Yes, she was fat and couldn’t physically compare to her beautiful sister, but Elisa was God’s Chosen! It’s a sad fact of life but the less common something is, the more status it has. Beautiful women are a dime a dozen but Elisa is one among millions! There’s nobody like her. How could she feel inferior when God chose HER and only her to fulfill an important task? Any normal person would be filled with a certain amount of vanity by such a distinction (even if they didn’t know it themselves) so her bouts of insecurity rang false. I could understand her being terrified of her role and being afraid she wouldn’t have the strength, wisdom, etc. to fulfill it but not this constant comparison to other people that left her feeling wanting.
At times, the story left me emotionally untouched. Lots of bad things happened but I didn’t seem to care for them, maybe because they were a bit whitewashed. Sometimes it seemed to me there was more discussion of food than real emotion.
The Crown of Embers (the sequel) already came out this past week. I hope that Elisa’s ultimate role is to unify all these groups but I fear that this will be at odds with the required happy ending. People that have changed the world (Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. to name a few) don’t end so happily so I really don’t know how the author will bridge the gap between Elisa’s responsibility as deliverer of the people and her happiness as a person.
I guess I’ll have to read the rest of the books to find out.
Series Reading Order:
1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns
2. The Crown of Embers
3. The Bitter Kingdom (to be released in Fall 2013)
© 2012, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved Please do not copy reviews or content from this site