Backlist Review: The Girl of Fire & Thorns (Fire & Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

I loved this book!!! It was amazing! I loved the plot. Okay, so the plot: It starts with Elisa’s secret marriage to the King Alejandro of Joya d’Arena, a large nation at the brink of war with another nation, Invierne. She moves to the palace there and is introduced as a “special guest”. She quickly befriends Lord Hector, a member of the King’s guard, as well as the young Prince Rosario. Elisa may be fat, but she has a fiery, pious and funny personality.

One night, Elisa is kidnapped and taken to a town far away in the desert nation. In this small town, she is forced to become the chosen one. She believes she is a failure of a princess while everyone looks up to her. As she grows fond of the people there, she begins to believe in herself more. She begins to believe she has been chosen for a reason. She even plans and leads a small band of rebels against Invierne to help the King.

Two other characters I grew to love were Humberto and Cosme. They are brother and sister. Humberto is kind and friendly. Also, he’s pretty cute from what I gathered. Elisa and he are attracted to each other. Cosme started off as a maid for Condesa Arina. To put it simply, Arina is a stuck up snob who is also the King’s mistress. Cosme is a part of the band that kidnaps Elisa, since she bears the Godstone. Though Cosme can seem icy and mean, she does befriend Elisa. It just takes time for her to trust others.

This story was set in an interesting world, with new countries and a very traditional and conservative religion. I usually don’t like religion-y things, but I loved how it was incorporated and entwined in the story. I really liked how Elisa developed her relationship with God, it was very believable and inspiring. I liked how religion and magic worked together. I thought it was absolutely mystifying and amazing! I can’t wait to read the second installment of Elisa’s adventure.

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Second read through:

I still love this book!!

I absolutely love the characters in this and the world. This is such a gem in terms of world building within fantasy. In Fantasy there’s usually some sort of Pagan religion and it’s not usually much of a focal point. Not so in The Girl of Fire & Thorns. Elisa is one of God’s chosen ones and is prophecised to perform a Great Service. Her life has been destined to God and she bears the Godstone.

I really loved the way religion and faith were portrayed in this world. It’s how I wish more organized religions were–as a community and support network that allows everyone to find their journey to faith while they are given guidance that isn’t forceful. Elisa’s journey from doubt and fear to true belief was beautiful and felt realistic to me.

I loved how magic/sorcery were introduced into the world. It was nicely explained and I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK DAMMIT. Then there’s Elisa herself: she’s fat, but also incredibly intelligent and has some cutting sass. Elisa also learns how to believe in herself and becomes a self-reliant, confident and amazing leader. Elisa goes through so much just in the first half of the book and it’s crazy! I definitely would not have survived the trek through the desert.

There’s so many wonderful other characters in this book, but I don’t want to write a 500 page essay. This is an amazing series and I highly recommend it!

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