Book Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
By: Rae Carson
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2011
432 pages
Buy it on Amazon or IndieBound
Audience: YA
Source: NetGalley

My thoughts:
This was a really fun YA fantasy with a female protagonist complex enough to hold the attention of those of us who thrive on great characterization. Main character Elisa transforms throughout this novel, going from child to woman through a series of classic Fantasy adventures. Elisa is a spoiled princess in the beginning, who by the end of the book proves that she is worthy of honor and respect. She starts the novel quite sheltered and innocent, but ends the book quite aware of the world, having really participated in it for the first time. 

One of my favorite things about this novel was that the description of the setting was so very vivid. It's been a while since I read this book, and I can still see three distinct settings in my mind's eye. It's so much easier to immerse oneself into a great read when you feel that you know the fictional world well.

I also very much enjoyed Elisa's inner dialog about the nature of God. She explored her beliefs in a way that is very normal and healthy, which isn't terribly common in YA literature. Elisa begins the book believing as she does because that's what she's been taught. As her experiences test her beliefs, she learns what it is to truly have faith.

The handsome prince, the dark and mysterious bad guy who's really good, the travel to distant and exotic lands, the secrets, the magic, the destiny greater than she ever imagined- it's all there. It's like Rae Carson dredged up my hopes for my old character from my RPG days and wrote her into a novel. I could almost smell the hay and the ale. 

Summary 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 needs 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.