I had heard some interesting buzz about this YA fantasy novel by newcomer Rae Carson, so I was excited to pick it up. Â The Girl of Fire and ThornsÂ is the story of Princess Elisa, the chosen carrier of The Godstone: a literal magic stone embedded into her abdomen, and her path to maturity. Â I liked Elisa because she is a flawed heroine – she has some serious self image and confidence issues. Â She’s a big girl, a result of finding comfort in binge eating. Â She is described as dark skinned and having beautiful eyes, but Elise doesn’t see much when she views herself. Â Which is why, when she weds the King of her neighboring homeland, she has doubts. Â Her husband, Alejandro,ends up being a very nice gentleman, though as Elisa matures she comes to see how his character flaws have hindered his rule. Â Elise wades through the murky waters of learning about her Godstone and ultimately is forced to figure out what her true purpose is. Â Her faith is put to the test.
What I really liked about this book is it isn’t comfortable. Â Elise is forced to confront her own insecurities as well as a slew of events that will forever shape the woman she is turning out to be. Â There are several moments where I mentally cringed – like how Elise thinks of herself, and how Elise loses close friends to her – but I enjoyed the raw and edgy feel of the story. Â In fact, I was engrossed. Â I really wanted to know how Elise’s first installment of her story was going to resolve itself. Â More importantly, I look forward to seeing how she continues to grow as a character.
I thought Fire & ThornsÂ was a great first book in what I think will be a fun yet gritty YA fantasy series. Â It’s obvious Carson has no qualms about tackling touchy issues – faith, self image, murder, loss, etc. – and I genuinely look forward to reading the next book, if only to know how Elise will shape the fate of her people. Â I’m glad I picked this up.
Romance: 2/5 Â Â Â Â Â Raunch: 0/5