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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

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.
First Look: ***** I’ve wanted to get my hands on a copy of this since it came out. It looked like it had an exciting premise. And not many YA high fantasy novels are being published lately, so I’m always happy to check out new releases in this genre.

Setting: ***** I really enjoyed this setting. It was so richly imagined. Rae Carson has some excellent worldbuilding going on here. She found just the right balance between detail and infodumping. She gave us unique and cool tidbits about the universe she created, but not so much that it got boring and annoying. 

The setting caught me by surprise, in a good way. I was expecting a standard European-ish fantasy setting. Don’t get me wrong, I like these kinds of worlds, if done well enough. But the more Mexican-ish twist was very unique and well-done. It could have very easily fallen flat on its face, but luckily it worked and made for an awesome setting.

Characters: ***** Overall, I thought the characters were well-developed. Our main character, Elisa, was an interesting protagonist. The fact that she was overweight was a bit overdone (do we really need a reminder of this every other page?), but other than that I liked her. She was likable, but flawed enough to make a realistic character.

I liked the supporting characters, too. Especially Humberto. As love interests go, he was definitely one of the few that actually deserve the girl’s love. Alejandro was not exactly all that likable, but he definitely seemed like a real person. Even if every time I read his name, all I could think was “Don’t call my name, don’t call my name…Alejandro”.

***** Yay for unique high fantasy plots! Again, I like my high fantasy a tad on the archetypal side (I mean, I love Eragon. That should say it all.), but I also appreciate something fresh and new. This was definitely one of those cases. The plot was exciting. It moved along at nice pace, never getting too slow or boring. 

I liked the number of twists and turns in this book. A few of them I saw coming. *spoiler ahead--highlight to read*Especially with Alejandro. I’m sorry, but there was just no way he was going to survive the entire book.*end of spoiler* Other than that, though, it threw a good few things at me that I wasn’t expecting. Which I like.

Uniqueness: ***** It was fresh and unique. Yay.

***** Argh, it’s been longer than I’d like since I actually finished this book. My reviews have been slow in coming as of late, due to teachers dumping piles of homework on my head and not giving me a chance to rest. I don’t recall anything major that bothered me about the writing, which is good. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but there were no typos and it did a good job telling the story.

I definitely wasn’t expecting the Christian aspect of this. If you aren’t a Christian, you’ll still enjoy this book, but the Christian-ness is there. I appreciated it.

Nothing that’s worth mentioning here.

Total Score: I very much enjoyed this book. It was fresh and unique, with an exciting premise that was as good as it promised to be. The characters were interesting, and likable. The setting, in my opinion, was the best part of the book. It was rich and just as exciting as the plot itself. Recommended for fantasy fans, especially fans of unique worlds, like Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (and if you haven’t read Eon yet, you need to, right now! It’s amazing. Ahem.).

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  1. I've been wanting to read this book for ages! I've heard so many things about it! But the two things that caught my attention in this review...1) There's a Mexican setting? I love interesting setting like that because European medieval is SO OVERDONE. 2) There's a Christian theme? :DD

    Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eona are some of my favorite books ever too. :D Great review!

    1. The setting isn't exactly Mexico, but it definitely borrows from those types of countries. All the names are similar to names you'd find in Mexico.

      And yes, there's a Christian theme! The MC prays to God (when she's in trouble, and to give thanks), and refers to her Savior, etc. It's a nice touch.


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