Sunday, 17 July 2011

Review - The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson
Publication date: 20th September
My rating: 5 out of 5

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.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a downright awesome story of epic proportions. Long after I should have been sleeping I was still turning page after page completely engrossed in the debut novel from Rae Carson.

The growth of Princess Elisa is the backbone of the story. She starts off as a lazy, fat, useless, disappointment (her words) who is being married off at the age of sixteen to a neighbouring King as part of a political deal. However, Elisa is the bearer of the Godstone a living precious jewel in her navel which is believed to have been given to her just after her birth by God, with the understanding that the bearer (there is only one bearer every 100 years) will perform a great service, some form of dangerous destined act which will save others. Thus making Elisa a very important political and religious symbol.

Instead of become Queen as planned Elisa is kidnapped by rebels who firmly believe in the prophecy that the bearer will save them. Made to walk through the desert for nearly a month living in a tent, battling sandstorms and surviving on desert rat soup Elisa begins to toughen up and shape up. Once she arrives at the rebels village and sees the way they live Elisa begins to believe her service or destiny is to help the poor villagers fight against their enemies from Invierne who use evil sorcery.

I loved how Elisa eventually came into her own and showed real strength of character. Initially she doesn't think she can help, in her head she is still the useless pampered princess. However, she has studied the art of war and can develop battle strategies and therefore gives the villagers hope that they can "annoy" their enemies into submission. Elisa then becomes a fantastic rebel leader known as the lady of the Malificio. The Girl of Fire and Stone reminded me in parts of the story of Catherine of Aragon (Henry the Eighths first wife) in Philippa Gregory's fantastic historical fiction The Constant Princess. Both are the story of a young princess married off to a King, both have political intrigue, war and battle strategies, both also have a strong Spanish Influence and a religious background story running throughout.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns brilliance just sneaked up on me, it's not a quick read at 422 pages but it's well worth the time. With fantastic world building, a driving plot and tonnes of action I would highly recommend The Girl of Fire and Thorns to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy adventure. If like me, you loved Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study then this is the book for you.

A huge thanks to the fantastic Jade @ Ink Scratchers who very kindly let me borrow her copy as it has been on my wish list for a while and I was desperate to read it. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is also currently on Net Galley and is due for release on the 20th of September.


  1. I just came back to tell you to get a move on with reviewing it as I couldn't wait to read your review and here it is. I totally loved it too!

    So glad you enjoyed it! As always, let me know if there are any books that you'd like to borrow :)

    Thanks for the shout out too! No rush getting it back to me, as I said, I can't get Hourglass back until i get paid next week (yes I'm that poor that I can't afford £3 postage :( )

  2. Wow, this is the first Ive heard of this book and its sounds awesome! thanks for posting this review!

  3. Jade - I know it took me a while. Dont rush sending Hourglass back its no bother honest!

    Whispering words- thank you very much, it was a totally awesome book:)

  4. This was a great review. I loved it. I've been interested in the book but I had no idea what it was really about and your review gave me just what I was looking for.

    I Need to buy a copy a.s.a.p! (arghhhh! But I'm moving!)

    ♥ Trish
    Just a YA Girl

  5. I am SO excited to read this book! Glad you liked it so much!


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