Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

December 12, 2013 2013, B+, book rating, reviews 0

Rae Carson is an author I haven’t read before and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!

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the-girl-of-fire-and-thornsThe Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson
Fire and Thorns, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by Greenwillow, 2011
E-book, Purchased
423 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: 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.

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“Honor from death,” I snap, “is a myth. Invented by the war torn to make sense of the horrific. If we die, it will be so that others may live. Truly honorable death, the only honorable death, is one that enables life.”


God’s will. How many times have I heard someone declare their understanding of this thing I find so indefinable?

What worked for me:

  • It’s nice to have a protagonist who isn’t perfect looking. Elisa is fat during a lot of the book.
  • The book shows God’s will isn’t an easy thing to know…many people think they know what God wants and that they are God’s chosen–even though they believe different things.
  • The book is written in first person, present tense which I think is difficult. I did notice the present tense sometimes at the beginning of a chapter, but then I would forget and the writing just seemed very natural.
  • When the book begins it’s Elisa’s 16th birthday as well as her wedding day. She marries someone she’s never met and isn’t very happy about it. She’s still very much a child and very unsure of herself. She matures, grows and changes during the course of the book.
  • She’s been kept in the dark about so many things which hinders her, but she rises above that and learns to trust herself.

What didn’t work:

  • Because the book was written in first person I didn’t feel I knew the other characters very well and  sometimes didn’t understand their motivations.
  • The ending was very abrupt.

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I’ve had this book for a number of months and meant to read it sooner. I’m glad I finally got it read…and that I already have the second book!

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

No Responses to “Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson”

  1. Jaime (The World for the Reading)

    I enjoyed this book as well, for many of the reasons you mentioned. Elisa’s flaws felt very real and her growth seemed organic. Also the fact that one of her strengths is strategy and the narrative has her demonstrate this skill, rather than only talk about it. She is definitely the star of the story, I agree the other characters are not as clearly drawn.

    • Jan

      I think you sum up the book better than I did…lol. Her ability to strategize was one of the things I really liked about her, but I forgot to mention it. 🙁 Thank you so much for your comment!

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