Review: Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonGirl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson
Greenwillow
Published on September 20, 2011

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Girl of Fire and Thorns
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.

My Review
This. Book. Wow!

Elisa is a clever girl, but at the beginning of the story, her insecurity paralyzes her. She quickly learns that she can’t sit quietly waiting for her act of service to appear before her, but that she’ll have to take action to fulfill her destiny. I loved her journey toward finding that inner strength and confidence and found it so easy to root for her through it all. So many characters surprised me. Her maids, each of whom played important roles in the story. Her husband, who turned out to be nothing like I expected. The boy she meets in the desert.

Like the characters, the plot surprised me, too. The stakes kept getting higher and higher, and things which at first didn’t seem significant suddenly became so. A priest gives her a cluster of stones which turn out to be essential to her saving the day. Her bond with the young prince, whom the court seems to overlook, becomes one of her most critical alliances.

And while it’s not a Christian story, it’s what I’d call faith-positive, in that Elisa’s spiritual belief guides her and ultimately saves her people. I loved reading a story that reveres spirituality and shows it as a deeply valuable part of life. I want to read this whole series, and I’m only sad it took me so long to finally sit down and get started. Fantasy fans, please put Girl of Fire and Thorns on your reading lists!

Girl of Fire and Thorns on AmazonRecommended for Ages 13 up.

Cultural Elements
Some characters are from a desert culture with brown skin. Elisa herself is a heavyset girl who eats to soothe her loneliness.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
None.

Romance/Sexual Content
Brief kissing between a man and woman.

Spiritual Content
Elisa bears a stone on her navel that was placed there by her god. Once every hundred years her god chooses someone to do a great deed. Elisa prays fervently, looking for her chance to serve her god. She meets a priest who shares ancient prophecy texts with her. Her faith is sacred to her and a huge part of the story. While elements of the faith are very different from Christian faith, it’s a very faith-positive story.

Violent Content
A tribal people attack Elisa and her allies. Soldiers and an assassin fight back. An army advances on Elisa’s new kingdom. A rebel group use guerilla warfare tactics on them. The army has powerful leaders in it, men who use enchanted stones to kill enemies by burning them. A soldier executes a prisoner by slitting his throat.

Battles leave some characters wounded or dead. Some graphic details.

Drug Content
Some characters drink alcohol (socially, as you might expect in a king’s court).Girl of Fire and Thorns on Goodreads

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she's not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.

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