Monday, January 16, 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Rae Carson)

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)
Length: 423 pages
Rating: 3.5/5
Elisa was chosen by God for greatness when he placed his Godstone in her navel as a child. She has no idea what she was chosen for, and doesn’t feel particularly remarkable, even after being married off to a handsome king who expects her to save his kingdom. Then she’s kidnapped by rebels, led by a dashing revolutionary who expects her to be their savior. Can Elisa fulfill the prophesy, for the king, for the revolutionary, or for herself?

I had such high hopes for this book. Fabulous flap copy, great reviews by some of my favorite authors on the back…and yet…it took me a long time to like Elisa, and to like a book, I must first like the hero/heroine. How do you respect a character who doesn’t respect herself? Elisa eats to escape her problems (it can be tough trying to fulfill a prophesy when you don’t know what it is) and is unhappy with her body. She doesn’t believe in herself, and has a hard time with all the people who believe in her simply because she is a chosen one.

I saw this book as less about Elisa fulfilling a prophesy and more about learning to be herself, and learning to be happy as herself. A common theme in YA lit, but one made more exciting by foreign lands, revolutionaries, and a reluctant princess who learns to be a leader. I liked Elisa and the book a lot more once she embraced her fate. 

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