On her naming day, Elisa was marked for an act of great heroism. A blue sapphire-like stone has hummed in her navel for the past sixteen years, a constant reminder that she’s mastered nothing but reading ancient texts and raiding the kitchens. And then her father marries her off to the king of a neighboring country. What kind of queen can a fearful, untried teenager be? Amid terrifying attacks, kidnapping attempts, and an onslaught of enemies fueled by the fire of dark sorcerers, Elisa will find herself, her heart, and her epic destiny. – Netgalley
Eeep!!! I am absolutely in love with this novel! Let me count the ways:
1. Kick-ass heroine. Oh my god, you guys, it was truly a journey with Elisa! Born as the bearer of the Godstone, the chosen one to carry a special purpose, her life is full of expectations and pressure from those around her. But here’s the thing: Elisa is lazy, fat, full of insecurities, and she lacks any sort of motivation. It was easy for me to feel skeptical about her character growth when I found myself frustrated by some of her behavior and actions. How would she ever amount to anything when she had such low self-esteem? I wanted her to grow up and stop feeling sorry for herself. Lucky for me, she did just that! I won’t detail all the things she went through, but I am so proud of the woman she grew to be.
2. The Spanish and religious influence. As a Spanish speaker, I loved being able to pick up on things while still being able to appreciate the work that Carson put into her world and characters. The religious aspects were also expertly used and I found the history of the previous bearers to be very fascinating.
3. The romance that wasn’t. This point will go nicely with the next, but it gets its own special mention because one — it’s me — when does the romance stuff not get a special mention? And two, and more importantly, Rae Carson really threw me for a loop. I went into this thinking I had an idea of how the romantic aspects would play out and… NOPE! Some chapters in, I had other suspicions and…NOPE! Then I thought we were getting comfortable and settling in and ha…NOPE AGAIN! Not understanding the direction where this was headed would usually annoy me, but I genuinely appreciated the natural progress of what transpired — and what’s to come. Some of my suspicions from earlier on came back to the forefront at the end of this installment, and it certainly seems that that’s where we’re headed, but I won’t get ahead of myself like I did with this book. I’ll simply wait to see what Carson has up her sleeve in the next one. (But on the off chance that I’m actually right this time: I’M SO, SO EXCITED.)
4. The unpredictability. Love. Friendships. Fatalities. Secrets. Betrayals. Carson didn’t pull things out of nowhere — it was very clear that she knew where she was taking her story — but I was pleasantly surprised by some turn of events and my inability to see them coming.
5. The lack of cliffhanger. Now, Elisa’s journey is far from over, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing her again, but The Girl of Fire and Thorns wrapped up the events from this book well enough that I don’t have to go punching things in anger. That said, can I get the next book now, please? Before I go punching things in anger?
When the time comes to wrap up my favorite books of this year, The Girl of Fire and Thorns will definitely be on that list. It’s such an amazing start to a wonderful series. READ.THIS.BOOK.