Monday, December 12, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson
September 20th, 2011
432 pages (hardcover)
Greenwillow Books
Source: Netgalley and later Purchased for Kindle
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 more at Goodreads
Honestly, I originally read two chapters, said "meh" and then set the novel aside for the next three months. Obviously, I picked it back up again, and I am very glad that I did. 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns begins somewhat inauspiciously, where Carson introduces a heroine that complains too much and inspires too little confidence in her readers. Once 140+ pages pass and an important event takes place, the story comes to life. Elisa's wavering confidence grows. Her somewhat dull personality begins to take on more interesting facets, and she begins to accept herself and her purpose - making it easy to enjoy her character.  

I want to say so much more, but this is one of those stories you need to read for yourself so all the surprises aren't spoiled. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is rife with religion, political agendas, secrets, a dash of romance, and plenty of heart-pounding moments as Elisa tries to evade her enemies and draws closer to an impending war. Once you get into this story, there's no setting it aside. 

Highlights: It was easy to lose myself in the pages and tumble into the rich and vibrant world Carson created (that is, once the story really got going). Certain characters I did not originally care for became favorites by the end - like Cosmé, or even Elisa1. I loved the whole Malficio group, and Lord Hector. Carson wraps up Elisa's story almost completely and ends on a strong note2

Lowlights: Some predictability. Elisa at the beginning was difficult to like, to the point where I did set the novel aside. The first 100ish pages were, for the most part, a bit flat and hardly kept my attention. 


1 I was actually surprised how many characters grew on me by the ending - that's rare. 
2 Yay, for an actual resolution + only the slightest tease of the forthcoming sequel. 


Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Nobles / The Book Depository


  1. I am glad you decided to give the book another chance :)

    It is my second favorite book of 2011 (after Divergent). I really like that there wasn't a cliffhanger ending or a big set up for a sequel. Still, I can't wait for the next book. Great review!

  2. Another book with a boring/or just meh beginning. I'am glad that from that rough start it's getting better and better. I really am looking forward getting a copy of this one, because it does sounds very interesting and different. Different is what I like these days. lol. Great review.

  3. I've read a few good reviews for this one, but the predictability has me skeptical. I'll definitely be reading this one, but it won't be a priority. Great review, Lea!!

  4. I keep forgetting I have this one on my shelf that I haven't read yet though it sounds awesome I really want to get to it soon. I love a book that you can just lose yourself into the story and read. Wonderful review!

    Xpresso Reads

  5. "Once 140+ pages pass and an important event takes place, the story comes to life."

    YES! I felt the exact same way. I set this aside after part one and before I started part two just because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to continue on with Elisa the way she was, but then parts 2 and 3 were a great progression for her I thought:) Awesome review Lea!

  6. This is definitely one of my favorite reads from this year so I'm glad to hear you ended up enjoying it quite a bit! I love the surprises Rae Carson had up her sleeve and I'm excited for what she brings next in the following book.

  7. I think I'm one of the few people who actually liked the beginning. I was even a little disappointed that the book took such a dramatic shift, but I got over that quickly because the shift was so exciting.

  8. I've been wanting to read this book for quite a while now and have heard a lot og good things about it, great review, new follower

  9. Crazy that you picked it up and loved so much later! I hate it when a book starts out slow. But glad you ended up liking it so much!

  10. I do want to give this one a go :)
    but the slow start worries me a bit. Still, I want it

  11. This book definitely sounds like my thing. I love stuff with fantasy with it's own politics.