Review: 'The Girl of Fire and Thorns' by Rae Carson

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson

Goodreads / Amazon 
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.

Travel Companion:

If we traveled with the main character Elisa, she would be:

The Food Critic

She would be the one to go to the high-end restaurants and critique their food. She would be well-known for her reviews and kindness. She would lend a hand to nonprofit organizations, flying to Third-World countries and helping the children there to become independent and stronger.
We would meet her in an airport. She would be heading off to another flight. We would bump into each other, and she would help us up. We would recognize her, knowing about her through her fame as a food critic, and invite her to go to Italy with us. She would join us because she would want to taste the food and see the cities of the world.

Elisa annoyed me at first. She was pampered. She cared about food and how people saw her more than anything else. She cared about how much her husband cared for her, and she felt rejection when he didn't seem to care. I felt like she was a bit...shallow. She didn't know about the world, but she didn't care. To her, everything was about being the bearer for the Godstone and fulfilling her destiny. Her character in the beginning annoyed me. I know I might not be defining Elisa accurately, but that's how I saw her.
But she changed. She shed her old personality and became the strong heroine. She gained strength and independence. She didn't have to be protected by her father or sister anymore. She could be left on her own and survive.
She became the hero this world needed.
She could stand on her own two feet. She knew her limits, but she also knew how powerful she was. She used her knowledge as a sword and wielded it with strength. I admired her character in the end. She became someone I could admire. Her change was amazing. The desert trip took its toll on her, but it also gave her the power to believe in herself.
Elisa gained the power of self-respect.

The Adventure Begins (And Ends):

The plot for the first part was dull. Boring. I had to force myself to read it. It was slow.
The beginning was mostly comprised of Elisa doubting herself and yearning for Alejandro's attention. She acted like a needy child. It was around this time when I was prepared to DNF (did not finish) this book. (And I RARELY DNF a book.) It was tiresome to read. I was yearning for some drama, some action! I can't survive on palace chatter alone! 

Then, when part two came around, things became interesting. The kidnapping jumpstarted so much more. The plot turned to action. Elisa had to fight to save herself. She had to defend herself. It had more action. It had more drama. Elisa had a purpose, and she was determined to go through it. And when the Malficio showed up, well...things got crazy. The attacks. Sting and retreat to live to sting again! An amazing concept. The Malficio really did their job.
And Elisa went through more. She gained depth to her character. Loss fueled her rage. She protected the desert people in her own way. She used her cunning as an advantage and her Godstone as leverage. She fought and won. A victorious general.
The ending had the most tension. I clung to my phone, worrying. 
How will Elisa survive? How will she defeat the enemy? Will the enemy win? Who will survive? Who will be killed? The ending had action and surprising twists.

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

There was one thing I noticed with the romance. It seemed rushed. They barely knew each other for a year. Unless the time in the book passed quicker than I thought...which that could be true. There didn't seem to be many scenes for the romance to build up. The romance seemed unexpected and uncalled for. There was nothing building it up. If we saw things from Humberto's eyes, that would be a different story. Elisa didn't SEE anything, though, so WE didn't see anything. Humberto seemed to harbor feelings for Elisa while she saw him as a place of comfort and friendship. 
I didn't like the romance. Elisa didn't NEED a guy. She didn't need a savior. She could protect herself. 

She needed Humberto for protection at the beginning, when she trekked through the desert. As time wore on, she needed his protection less and less as she grew stronger. Near the end he was just a kind soul who cared for her.
And what happened to Humberto...oh
god. There was no reason for that to happen. We barely met the guy but still. Elisa cared about him. I know that it fueled Elisa's rage, but that doesn't mean you have the permission to do things like that. I was shocked when I read it. I just couldn't believe it. I was confused for a long time after reading those lines.

Perks and Upgrades:


You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

The ending was pretty great. It showcased Elisa as this strong and determined woman. She was a heroine. She was the true hero. No one could hold her back. She wasn’t invincible, but she was still very powerful.
The ending had action. Furious attacks. Anger. Protection. So many emotions swirled about in me when I read the last few chapters. Confusion. Anger. Tension. Excitement. 
Would they survive? How? Who would die next? Who will survive? What will Elisa do next?
I felt like the book could have been a standalone. The plot started to wind down as if it was headed to the end of Elisa’s story. I didn't have many questions left. (Except this one: 'Why did everyone have to die?') I was expecting the ending. (Even though I know this was a trilogy.) 
The last two paragraphs denied it. The last two paragraphs created the need for a sequel. Without them, this would have been a great standalone. I honestly would have preferred this book as a standalone. I don’t need more series to read. 
Overall, it wasn't that bad. Elisa's character change was great. It was the thing I liked the most about this book. The plot was boring at first, but it became better. The romance was a bit uncalled for. It seemed rushed and sudden. The ending could have sealed the deal, but we had to have a sequel. (Sigh…) 
This book was pretty amazing. I had certain things I didn’t like, but those are a given for any book. Not bad, Rae Carson, not bad at all.



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