Monday, October 3, 2011
The Girl of Fire and Thorns 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, and 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 her to be 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.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns is just the sort of YA book that got me hooked on the genre. Debut author Rae Carson combines fantasy, magic and adventure with the coming of age of the second princess Elisa. Elisa, the younger princess, does not compare well against her older sister. She's fat, not interested in power or ruling her country, and she's shy. Eliza is willing to cede most things to her sister and has known that her life is dedicated to serving their God as a Bearer.
The Bearers come every hundred years and are chosen by their God on their naming day. They hold in their navel a jewel but what sets them apart is that they are chosen to change history, to serve a higher purpose or goal. The specific purpose is not known and Elisa spends much of her time praying, studying, trying to discern what she's supposed to do. She acknowledges that she does not intend to lead or rule. But when Elisa is married to the ruler of the largest and richest country in their world, she finds many of her earlier beliefs and assumptions are overturned. She learns to trust her judgment and herself. She grows into her true self, learns to lead, and changes the world around her.
Elisa is one of the most likable heroines that I've come across in a long time. I couldn't put down The Girl of Fire and Thorns. It's a fun, engrossing read. Am very much looking forward to the next book by Rae Carson.
Young Adult: Ages 12 and up
ISBN-10: 0062026488 - Hardcover $17.99
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 20, 2011), 432 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher.
About the Author:
Rae Carson writes books about teens who must do brave things. She's originally from California, but moved to Ohio to be with her husband. They live in Columbus with her teenaged stepsons. Her books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices.