Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
By Rae Carson
Publication date: September 20, 2011

My review:

The story begins with Elisa's wedding day. She feels fat in her dress and is sure that her future husband, King Alejandro will be disappointed when he sees her. Elisa believes she is the polar opposite of her graceful, intelligent, and beautiful older sister Alodia. What makes Elisa special to her people is the Godstone. As the Bearer, it is expected that Elisa will go on to do great things. These expectations only serve to make Elisa feel like a failure. As the new queen of Joya d'Arena, Elisa wants to help King Alejandro but she is met with ridicule from the people at Court as well as the injustice of having to keep her marriage a secret. It is only when Elisa is kidnapped that she begins to find out the truth about herself and what it means to be chosen. There are those who see her as a savior and those who see her as a threat and will do anything to possess the power she doesn't realize she has.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is not a fairy tale though Elissa is a princess. It is also not a quest story. It is instead a fantasy novel that took me by surprise with its world building, political intrigue, magic, and character development. There is romance too but it isn't the main point of the story which I really appreciated. There are plenty of plot twists that were unexpected too.

Elissa really grows as a character from the girl with zero self confidence into a true leader. She does have an issue with her weight for much of the book but to me those negative thoughts made her character more real. She also grows out of that self-hate which was really nice to see.  All along she displays her intelligence though she doesn't seem to value herself at first. It takes her awhile but she is able to put her knowledge of military strategy to good use and she learns how to work within the politics at court. As a heroine, Elissa can be brave but she also has weaknesses and she isn't perfect. She relies on others as well as on her own strength.

Overall I thought this was one of the best books I read in 2011. I liked the character development but I also enjoyed the world that Rae Carson created and the discussion of faith and belief in yourself. While Elissa is a pretty religious person, this is not Christian fiction by any means. I look forward to finding out more about Elissa and the Godstone in the next book, The Crown of Embers, which was just released. 

Readalikes: Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (because of the political intrigue), Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Note: I received an ARC for review courtesy of NetGalley but this review is based on the book I purchased from Amazon after publication.


  1. I enjoyed this one too and I'm really looking forward to The Crown of Embers.

  2. I remember being a little bored in the beginning as the stage as set but then finding myself enthralled as the action picked up. Can't wait to read the next and hopefully you'll be posting a review soon!


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