Monday, September 17, 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

During my adolescence (which, granted, is probably not done) I gravitated mostly towards high fantasy and romance novels. The most obvious example of this is my obsession with Tamora Pierce, whose books take up an entire shelf of my bookcase. But over the past year I've drifted more towards Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Historical Romance, and even some Paranormal. But I jumped back into fantasy with a healthy dose from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

Retrieved from Goodreads
This novel follows Elisa, a princess of Orovalle, who compares herself to her older sister and finds her own nature wanting. But she is the bearer of a Godstone, a gem planted in her navel at her naming ceremony by Him. This means she is destined for an act of service to God, but Elisa has no idea what it is. She just wants to be left alone to her books, her praying, and her sweets. But that changes when she is married off to the King of Joya-Arena, and is subsequently kidnapped by hill people. Elisa battles her doubts about her faith, her worth, a forbidden love, and discovers the world outside the palace is very different than what she expected. It doesn't help that she bears the Godstone. Most of the bearers die young.

What I liked about this book: it's unflinching weaving of faith and magic. Sometimes I feel authors shy away from having a religion in fantasy books that resembles modern religion. I also liked watching Elisa go from a frightened young girl to a decisive young woman (much unlike her husband). The world was well crafted and I didn't know camels' humps drooped if they get dehydrated...

What I found frustrating: lack of character descriptions! By the end of the book I know if a couple characters are tall or attractive, and I know Elisa is chubby. That's about it. I like having descriptors; it makes the characters more real to me. But from what I've read on other reviews, this is a personal thing.

Read it. I highly recommend it.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

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