Book Review: {The Girl of Fire and Thorns | By: Rae Carson}


10429092Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Author: Rae Carson
Edition: Paperback
No. of Pages: 423
Published: September 20, 2011
Source: Gifted
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Links: Goodreads 
Amazon B & N
Rating: two-stars

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.

Most of the chosen do.― Publisher

ReviewHeader_2016

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series: Fire and Thorns #1 Author: Rae Carson Edition: Paperback No. of Pages: 423 Published: September 20, 2011 Source: Gifted Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B & N Rating: 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…

My Assessment

Plot - 4
Characters - 3
Worldbuilding - 5
Mood & Tone - 4
Writing Style - 4
Storytelling - 4
Overall Impression - 4

4

It Was Okay

To be blunt, I have mixed feelings about The Girl of Fire and Thorns. On one hand, the story line was well-paced and somewhat original. On the other hand, the lore and thematic scope of the prose was so jarring I found it difficult to concentrate on the story or characters at all! I ended the book quite exasperated and slightly disappointed with the lack of meat and depth, to say the least; yeah, this one was just okay for me.


WHAT I LIKED

thumbsup_purple_2016 The introduction proved to be the most intriguing aspect of the story for me as it set the stage and with the story being fairly fast and moderately entertaining it worked! We have an arranged marriage that results in a disjointed political debacle, we have a protagonist who is “flawed” so to speak? and some magical elements that peppered the story with intrigue and lure.

thumbsup_purple_2016 Rae Carson truly has a way with words and manages to thread the reader along with her unique storytelling. The world she has conceived in The Girl of Fire and Thorns is one of pure dreamscape no less and this is no small feat!

 

THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM. . .

thumbsdown_black_2015 To be frank, on the subject of Elisa and her “flawed” attributes ― those being her self-esteem issues with her overweight dilemma, was the most aggravating for me because I felt it lacked sorely in depth and heart. Nevertheless, Elisa is “the chosen one” so we follow her story as she discovers her personal strengths through a series of events that are far grander than they actually pan out to be. What’s more, I found I was rooting for her, but simultaneously shunning her advancements. Clearly, these mixed emotions lend themselves to the typical “girl-falls-in-love-with-the-kidnapper” element that is found in most YA fiction. Why authors choose to place teenage girls in such inconceivable plights is beyond me I didn’t connect with Elisa either, but I did feel she handled many of the situations she encountered with stride. There are so many other issues of flawed logic in Elisa’s character arc too, but to delve any deeper on this subject would require we step into spoiler territory so I’ll just leave it at that

thumbsdown_black_2015 Whilst some magical elements that peppered the story with intrigue and lure did manage to hold my attention, all of this promise went wayward when the book subtly threw in gawky humorous lines, a jarring romantic plotline, a sorely underdeveloped antagonist and absurd religious tropes that were difficult to swallow. In fact, mind-boggling is the real key word for The Girl of Fire and Thorns as (more often than not) I found myself dumbfounded and wondering if the book was Christian fiction. Granted, I’ve read heaps of Christian fiction, but yet none of the fictional Christian books I’ve read doused themselves in so much religious angst and jargon.

 

AFTERTHOUGHTS 

I really wanted to like this book as it came highly recommended; unfortunately, however, The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a sad miss. It isn’t so much that Rae Carson delivers a terrible prose; in fact, the premise holds merit! It was just overshadowed by exaggerated religious tropes that felt awfully bizarre. Take it or leave it!

 

 SPECIAL BITS & PIECES

B&P.002 “He used to stare at me so intently, like I was the only thing in the world. Have I changed so much? Or maybe that mesmerizing gaze was just a weapon in his arsenal of appeal. Maybe he never actually saw.”

B&P.0001 “Sometimes it’s best to let your opponent think he has control.”

B&P.003 “Walking away from my desert companions feels like cutting off a limb. How does one say good-bye to an arm? One doesn’t, I suppose. One pretends it isn’t happening.”  

bitsandpieces002 “From the mouths of the innocents flows truth.”

bitsandpieces004 “He doesn’t love me yet, but in this place of death, in this precious moment of shared relief, he holds me.”

 CONTENT GUIDE
Violence Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
Profanity Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
Sexual Content Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
Drugs & Alcohol Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
RECOMMENDED FOR OT 16+

Loss of a loved one, very mild sexual references, battle sequences and warfare, casual drinking, underage marriage, issues with self-image

9 thoughts on “Book Review: {The Girl of Fire and Thorns | By: Rae Carson}

  1. I’m not sure why authors go down that route of Stockholm syndrome type romances either sadly, it just feels awkward and wrong. It sounds really well written, but I’m just not a fan of books that have either religious or political undertones and push an agenda. Especially in YA because it could influence teens who are questioning their own beliefs. Wonderful review Claudia, so sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this more though

    1. “Especially in YA because it could influence teens who are questioning their own beliefs.”

      I couldn’t agree more, Kelly. It’s so disturbing to know that most of our youth actually enjoy basking in these themes too! I don’t know what else to add really, it’s just strange and unsettling.

  2. I’ve had this on my Kindle for the longest and I’ve been meaning to read it. Thank you for your honest review. I wonder how I’ll react to it.

  3. Wow… this sounds kind of awful. It’s really disappointing to hear that the author didn’t really do the best job with the characters and the religious bits sound pretty out of place too. I always find it really strange when a book appears to be Christian fiction but wasn’t marketed as such. Oh well, better luck next time!

    PS: I tagged you in the Captain America book tag!

    1. “I always find it really strange when a book appears to be Christian fiction but wasn’t marketed as such.”

      It’s always jarring for me to read secular books and have to always stumble upon Christian references. . .I’m totally not kidding either – The 5th Wave, Ashfall, Unwind, Armada, Gates of Thread and Stone, Thorn, Everything, Everything, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, I could go on and on. . .it’s ludicrous!

  4. I don’t mind reading Christian Fiction at all but I’d like to be warned to what I’m reading so I understand why you could have found the religious parts mindboggling. My Fair Assassin I believe has religious aspects but it does it so well. The “chosen one” is such a cliche. I don’t mind cliche’s if they are done right. This doesn’t sound like it did. The overweight part is pretty interesting but I don’t know what it is about books but if you don’t present insecurities in a certain way then you have the problem of making people annoyed at your main character.

    1. Yeah, Elisa wasn’t someone I connected with at all and to be honest, I don’t think we will ever be able to escape the silly “chosen one” clichés in books, they are a major setback for me. The only series that implemented this theme so well was the Harry Potter series though!

      On another note, it’s so wonderful to see/hear from you, Adriana! I hope all is well

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