Sunday, September 25, 2011

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

The GIrl of FIre and Thorns
  • Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
  • Classification: Young Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 20, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0062026488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062026484

     "And God raised up for himself a champion. Yea, once in every four generations He raised him up to bear His mark.
      (The champion must not fear.)
     But the world did not know him and his worth was hidden away; like the desert oasis of Barea it was concealed. Many sought the champion; from evil intent they sought him.
     (The champion must never waver.)
     He could not know what awaited at the gates of the enemy, and he was led, like a pig to the slaughter, into the realm of sorcery. But the righteous right hand of God is mighty.
     (His mercy extends to His people.)"

She is hidden beneath the perfect disguise. To look at her you'd never suspect she is destined to do great things. She's female, overweight, young, and has low self esteem. Nothing that one would expect in a hero, but she is the "chosen" one--hand picked by God to do his bidding. She bears the Godstone, a gem-like living entity which marks the chosen by becoming embedded in the navel on their name day. Their exact destiny is unknown, but if they live long enough to accomplish the task set before them, they will be remembered and their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

It is Princess Elisa's sixteenth birthday and also her wedding day. She does not understand why a hasty marriage between her and King Alejandro de Vega had been arranged. Much has not been explained to her. It is believed the "chosen" should not know what awaits them. Her sister's parting words as she leaves for her new home warn, "Trust no one, Elisa, save Alejandro, and Nurse Ximena and Aneaxi." Slowly, however, she discovers what she must do and will grow as a person. By the end of the book she will accept her fate, meet her destiny head on, and become the person she was meant to be. 

Elisa reminded me of a typical younger sister. I found her easy to relate to. She's a touch envious of her older sister, Juana-Alodia, and wishes she was more like her. Her sister is confident, graceful, and beautiful. Everything Elisa feels she is not. She's unsure why she was chosen for the destiny she must fulfill and, if she could, she'd gladly give it up. She feels unprepared for being Queen of Joya d'Arena. She's had no formal training and didn't expect to obtain such status. Plus, she knows nothing of the man she is to marry and has never met him. Much is expected from her and she's only sixteen.

I liked how Elisa came into her own and gained confidence as the book progresses. I liked how near the end she realized she did have a lot to offer and finally realized her own worth. A fact that she, and others, at the beginning of the book couldn't fathom. 

The main focus of this book was Elisa. There are a lot of interesting secondary characters that I hope we'll get to know more about in later books. Cosme is perhaps the one we know most about, but I felt we only scratched the surface with her. Also, there seems to be much to be learned about the Godstone. We learn in this book, that the bearer of the Godstone possess powers which are directly derived from the Godstone. I'm hoping in the next books we'll learn more of what powers the bearer is capable of rearing. I'm also hoping to learn more about Invierne, the enemy, and how the fight for power started. From what information is gathered in the book this war has been raging for centuries.

I found this a refreshingly different book that was utterly captivating. I started reading and couldn't put it down until I had finished it. I must admit, I wish we'd gotten more information up front instead of having it slowly extracted as we read. I realize some will have a problem with Elisa going from an ugly duckling to a swan as the book progresses, but I think to prepare for what is to come she needed to get in shape. Perhaps in the next book she'll get some formal training in weapons because I have a feeling she's going to need it if she's to survive.

Why the name, 'The Girl of Fire and Thorns'? I believe the thorn portion of the title comes from the religious ceremony in which a priest takes prayer requests and use a rose's thorn to prick the finger of the person making the request. The rose used in the ceremony is chosen because of its bloodred sheen and sharp spikes. It symbolizes beauty and pain of faith. As the prayer request is made a single drop of blood is dripped upon the stone of the alter. The fire portion, I believe, comes from the fact that a Godstone can wield fire for the person in possession of it, thereby burning their enemy.

 I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses and have recommended it to my daughter.

Rae Carson discusses The Girl of Fire and Thorns:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...