Loved Elisa, not your typical stick thin heroine! Like everyone out there, has some issues with herself. Worried that she wasn't good enough for her husband Alejandro, who happened to be a king. Knew that her sister didn't have love for her and that their dad prefer her sister. The only thing keeping her stable was her devotion to God and the unconditional love of Ximena.
Kidnapped over a prophecy that may or may not be true. Fell in love with one of her kidnappers, who didn't see her as this prophecy, who saw her as an actual human being. Learning to grief over his death, made her a stronger person that she was already becoming.
Bloody hell I loved this book!!!
*Still mourning over Humberto's death, for sure thought he would stay with her!
A Unique Religious Mythos and An Intelligent and Confident Heroine!
The Girl of Fire and Thorns completely blew me away. Strong character development, a suspenseful and thrilling plot and wonderful world-building combined to make a story I fell in love with.
At first, Elisa was not an easy character to love; she was a young and naive girl, content with being sheltered from court politics and current affairs in order to study the history of other Godstone bearers in the hopes of being better prepared for her destiny of service. Self-conscious of her bulging figure and terrified of the unknown, she was quite self-deprecating. She turned to food for comfort, especially when she realized her new husband was merely humouring her while secretly coveting another. But after being forced to move a month’s journey from her homeland, after being taken into captivity by a group of people determined for her to be their saviour, and then choosing to rise above it all, Elisa became a heroine to be proud of. Her growth was staggering in measure, but gradual in nature considering it spans months of trials and tribulations, of heartache and pain. By the end of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa was eager to offer counsel, eager to jump into a leadership role, decisive in the face of her husband’s indecisiveness and more terrified then ever, yet finally unafraid to act.
The secondary characters in The Girl of Fire and Thorns were just that – secondary – but their importance to the plot and Elisa’s maturity were irrefutable. She was able to realize her initial feelings for Alejandro were childish, after her experiences with Humberto. She learned that Hector’s coldness was his attempt to mask his feelings, after her experiences with Cosme. She was only able to piece together the history of the Godstones because of the various priests who helped provide different parts of the puzzle. She was forced to grow up because those around her expected nothing less. Each character brought something to the table that Elisa needed – whether it was moral support, an encouraging smile or a kick in the ass. While none of them truly stood out in a specific or memorable fashion, I did find myself growing fond of many of them. And without each one of them, I can’t imagine the plot having flowed nearly as smoothly.
And what a plot it was! Deception, betrayal, lies, secrets, action, suspense, romance - The Girl of Fire and Thorns had it all! I was completely captivated from the first page, thanks to Carson’s attention to detail. I was on sensory overload with sights, sounds – even tastes! – brought to life through Elisa’s experiences. The religious mythos that Carson created was layered and complex, adding a depth and richness that I found addictive. Even the pacing was phenomenal – starting off slow, and gradually building into a crescendo of twists and turns that left me breathless!
If you haven’t already figured it out, I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns! My expectations of a chubby girl spouting off religious propaganda were blown out of the water as I was lucky enough to experience a unique and intriguing religious mythos through an intelligent and confident heroine.
This book blew me into infinity and beyond, it was just amazing. The plot, the characters, the writing style, were all past the five star limit, reaching to eleven and further. I loved every part of this book, every twist and turn, every hill or valley, it was awesome.
One of the things that I loved the most was Elisa being fat. I've never really read a book where the heroine was this fat, it was sad and hilarious. It also brought a different appealing aspect to Elisa, as most heroines are skinny and pretty, or just slightly on the chubby side, and Elisa really didn't care that much, as she just loved to eat. It was great that she didn't really care about her figure, but it was also brilliant to have her lose all that weight as the book progressed, I could see very clearly Alejandro's face when he saw the new Elisa.
When the book took a turn and Elisa was kidnapped, that's when my interest was really captured. The way that Rae Carson wrote the journey was great, although hardly any of it was written, you could still feel it's power. Elisa changes so much on the journey, she basically becomes an entirely different character, which never works well in most books, but this one, it worked brilliantly.
What I thought was really sad/great was Humberto. You could see even from when they first meet, that Humberto had a crush on Elisa, even though she was really fat. SPOILER!! It's really terrible how he just dies, and Elisa has no time to mourn him. He was such a perfect character, he never pushed Elisa, and never discarded the fact that she was already married. I was heartbroken when he died, I can only wish that he becomes alive somehow in the future (which I know will never happen).
The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a wicked awesome book, and had such a perfect plot, characters and even the writing style can be described as amazing. I recommend this to every young adult, just give it a try, it will blow you away.
At first, not so much, but later on it's pure epic.
(Updated: September 10, 2012)
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from The Girl of Fire and Thorns the first time I read it, thinking that it'd be another overrated fantasy. At first, it was a bit slow and I was like, "Alright, this'll just be a casual read, nothing special."
I was so, so wrong.
Elisa, at first, is an unattractive second-born of the royal family. She's not cut out to be a ruler, unlike her perfectly intelligent elder sister who she can never live up to. She's supposed to be the chosen one, but if she can't even be better than her sister, how can she complete a her destined task? Right at the beginning of the story, she's married off to the king of a neighbouring kingdom, who is kind but wouldn't even acknowledge their wedding in his castle. Not that her family could complain; they're days away. To add insult to injury, he has a mistress that everyone seems to know about. The people of the court, not aware of the fact that the foreign Princess of Orovalle is the queen, gossip about pretty much anything to do with her: her looks, purpose at court, why she resides in the late queen's chambers etc. So other than her strain under sibling rivalry, she has to deal with a husband who pretends they're not together, and hundreds of eyes watching her every move. So basically, life sucks for Elisa.
The only bright thing at the palace is the presence of the spoiled prince who seems to like her, and a guard/bodyguard/something, Lord Hector, who respects her. And that's just the beginning.
So approximately a third of the way into the book, things start getting interesting, so if you think, "Hell, this is boring. I'll stop reading," please try to continue reading. I won't guarantee that you'll like it, but I was not disappointed. So, just so you know, pretty much everything from here on is spoilery, because like I said, this is where things start picking up. So this is where things get really awesome. Like SUPER MEGA ÜBER EPICALLY AWESOME.
Another cool thing about The Girl of Fire and Thorns? It has some bits of Spanish interjected into it, so if you know Spanish, it's kinda cool to read those little bits. Unfortunately, I'm taking French so I had to use a lot of Google Translate for this.
Anyways, after that you clearly see take this 180-degree change, and take charge like a warrior princess, or rather, queen.
SPOILER ALERT I really have to add this in. Alejandro is not as much of a butthead afterwards, and for those of you that've read the book, you'd see Humberto as a friendzoned kind of guy, but really feel for him. After he dies in Elisa's place Elisa doesn't get time to mourn him, and soon afterwards Alejandro takes a similar fate. Both of Elisa's love interests die, even though she couldn't really do much with Humberto seeing how she was married and had a simple friendship with Alejandro. I'm very glad for Humberto respecting Elisa's marriage status instead of saying, "To hell with it," and doing whatever, and at the same time very happy for Alejandro for being a friend to Elisa, which is a heck of a lot better than nothing. SPOILER ENDS
Overall, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is an amazing read for not just fantasy fans but also lovers of other genres, and I'd place a very high recommendation on it.
Excellent character development drives a unique and engaging story
This book was totally unlike any other fantasy I’ve ever read, both in characters and in plot. I’ll talk about characters first.
First, Elisa was not beautiful (and not in that “she doesn’t think she’s beautiful but guys keep falling all over themselves when she appears” kind of way). Second, she was not highly skilled. She bore the Godstone, but she had absolutely no idea why or what to do with it. And third, she had a steep learning curve. She didn’t find herself to have a mysteriously strong aptitude for any sort of noticeable skill. Basically, what she had was a connection to God that she didn’t understand, decent intelligence, and a desire to do the right thing so she could fulfill her service. That was pretty much it. It was refreshing to see a fantasy protagonist with no major advantages over the other characters (save the Godstone, but again, she spent most of the book being utterly flummoxed by it).
Then there was the plot. It had a decidedly religious and philosophical slant, which I wasn’t really expecting going into this book. It didn’t preach any specific religion (that I am aware of anyway), but the overall themes of God and prayer and faith in an overarching purpose that is bigger than any of us can understand were huge. I found this totally different than other fantasy I’ve read, and although this wasn’t by any means a preachy or religious book, I liked the way it tackled the complex issues of religion and faith and trying to understand the will of God. It did it within the world of fantasy and magic, so I don’t think it would turn off non-religious readers, but for me, I enjoyed a fantasy book that both fulfilled my need for magic and adventure, in addition to making me really think and question.
Of course, this book is not all religion and philosophy, not by a long shot. Elisa goes through a HUGE transformation, both physically and mentally, throughout the course of the book. The adventure is sweeping, the world-building highly unique and interesting, and the danger is palpable. Rae Carson was not afraid to put her characters in tough and terrible situations, and that gave the book a gravity that kept me fully engaged.
There were a couple downsides to the book. A couple of the characters I was never able to fully warm to, and it seemed like I was supposed to. I thought Elisa’s development was one of the most realistic hero journeys I’ve ever read, but it almost came at the expense of the other characters’ development. There’s one exception to that, and it was actually a pretty secondary character, but I loved him in the brief time I got to know him. However, he disappeared for the entire middle of the book, and doesn’t reappear until the final act. So that was somewhat disappointing. I hope we see a lot more of him in the sequel, Crown of Embers (which releases September 18, 2012).
I did find the climax a tiny bit hard to swallow. I don’t want to spoil anything, so let’s just say that I was expecting it to be…more difficult. After the way everything is set up, it feels like it should have been more difficult. But one big thing happens, and then everything else is just…over. Seems like it should have been messier than that.
But, as I said, that was just a tiny complaint.
Overall, Girl of Fire and Thorns (which, if made into an acronym, is “GOFAT,” which seems like kind of a subliminal encouragement Elisa, who is rather portly at the start of the book) was a refreshing and highly engaging fantasy, with a unique and interesting world, a complex plot, and a fantastic main character.
After several volumes of dystopian fiction, it's refreshing to come across something that's simply fantasy. Though there's nothing "simple" about The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a book set in a kingdom on the brink of a war they know they can't win, told in the voice of the king's secret wife. Sixteen year old Elisa marries Alejandro because she's told to. The only bearer of the Godstone, she knows she is destined to do something great for her people - and probably die doing it. But it's more likely that she'll miss her destiny, quiet and unassuming as she is. When circumstances pull her out of her solitude and force her to face not only her destiny, but her own inner strength, she learns to become the queen she really is, and earn the respect of her people.
I'll hopefully draft a more thorough review a little later, but for now, just know this is a book you should absolutely read. The characters are the sorts of people who become friends, and the world is one you will be happy to get lost in. It hurts to wait for the sequel in September, but I was grateful that The Girl of Fire and Thorns didn't leave me hanging.
This book was awesome. I found it a very DIFFERENT story, which is hard to find with all the young adult paranormal junk. "She was new in her high school" yadda yadda. This has action and adventure! It is a little religious (Which I am not) however, it is easy to overlook.
Lot's of details, huge story, many change of scenery, detailed characters, love story, unexpected twists and very very creative.
This book kept me wondering what was going to happen from the very beginning! It's about time i read a book that wasn't the usual fairy tale stuff every one has begun to expect in this genre. I loved the strong female lead and how she grows throughout the story. This book Made me happy, sad, and incredibly shocked until I turned the last page!
First 50 Pages: Initially, The Girl of Fire and Thorns was boring. I found the book interesting. The plot line grabbed me. The characters were well described and very relatable. But it was boring. I couldn’t place my finger on why. I heard everyone loved this book so I decided stick with it.
Characters: Elisa is the main character. Through this story you watch this little girl grow into something amazing. The plot line extends through months. In the beginning of the story, Elisa starts as this chubby little teenage girl content with being sheltered and knowing nothing outside of her little bubble. She has a hard time socializing. She’s daddy’s girl in a very sheltered way. And everything terrifies her.
By the end of the book she grows to become a powerful and respectful queen. She is decisive, still afraid, but not afraid to act. She is understanding of her peoples’ needs. The reader can sense how much she has grown.
There are a slew of other supporting characters along the way such as Cosme’, Lord Hector, and Ximena. Despite their roll and constant attention, everyone else in the book does play more of a supportive roll. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a very first person focused book focusing on Elisa and her journeys and transformations.
My Review: I stated before that this book was initially boring. I couldn’t place my finger on it though. The more I kept reading the more I wanted to see what happened next. I have that kind of curious personality. Once I become invested in something I have to finish it out. A movie or book has to be dreadful for me to not finish it. But this was different somehow. I was hooked but still found the book boring and it was a very odd feeling.
As Elisa’s journey progressed and the plotline moved on I grew even more addicted, but I still found the book boring. I still couldn’t place my finger on it. I began to realize how detailed everything was. Maybe it was the descriptions? But I decided I liked how visual everything was.
Elisa’s journey took a twist with her second trip into the desert (don’t want to give away too much). She began to mature. Her demeanor became stronger. The story grew more interesting and fuller. But there was still this certain something I didn’t like.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns started to wrap up. The climax was almost at its peak. This book grew on me. I couldn’t put it down. I usually read in the parking lot while my wife attends her classes. That is really the only time I get to read. I got down to the last chapter in this book and was tempted to make my wife wait a few more minutes until I finished the book. She won out of course. It is amazing how the wife always manages to do that. But I couldn’t wait to read those last few pages.
And then I realized what was bugging me through the entire story. The writing style is very dry. Every description, although very descript, was bland. The writing was blunt. The entire story is I this and We that. The language just isn’t very colorful. Usually I pinpoint this right away. This writing style turns me off quickly. But something about The Girl of Fire and Thorns just mesmerized me. I knew there was something off right from the start but I couldn’t stop reading it. The story sucked me in like a bad habit.
I have to give kudos to the author though. The entire plot line is very full. I’ve read a lot of books lately where the story was good but thin. Characters are always introduced well and the protagonist and antagonist go at it a bit with some supporting characters pinched in for good taste. The story was always entertaining, but felt thin. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a single book. It managed to fit a story that spanned months feel very full. It was like a good Thanksgiving dinner; it wasn’t overwhelming and very easy to digest but I came away stuffed. No loose ends were left dangling for the reader.
Final Thoughts: Yeah… Why not? I’ll give this book my recommendation. I kid, I kid… (If you imagine that in a Russian accent it becomes more fun.)
In a more serious form of expression, I do recommend this book. I felt the writing style was bland and dry. To play devil’s advocate against myself, that does make the book much easier for all age groups to read and not limit it to adults. Despite the bland writing style, the imagery used is well done and the book is engaging and entertaining.
I always ask myself, “Would this make a cool movie?” Imagine my reaction when I found out that The Hunger Games and Mortal Instruments were being made into movies. I will be the first one on Fandango for my tickets. Should The Girl of Fire and Thorns become a movie, I again shall be the first person reserving my tickets. I believe the full story, descriptive imagery, addicting story line, and character growth would make one heck of a movie that ranks up there with that of Lord of the Rings.
Such a wonderful addition to YA fantasy! The world-building is flawless. I was instantly captivated. The plot is high stakes and kept me turning the pages. But even though both of those elements are fantastic, what really makes this book shine is the heroine Elyssa. She isn't like other heroines, and I loved reading her struggles, understanding her heart sometimes before she did, and seeing her come into her own. What an incredible book!