Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson
Published: 9.20.11
Pages: 423

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.

The Rest of the Series:

#2 The Crown of Embers: Goodreads - Amazon
#3 The Bitter Kingdom: Goodreads - Amazon
I’ve always loved a good fantasy! That’s why it surprised me it took me so long to pick up The Girl of Fire and Thorns and sequels. But I finally did and having recently finished the trilogy I decided to bring you my collective thoughts in one post. (cheap blogger) Some call this the “Game of Thrones for YA”, but I call it “Hectorific.” Because that is what I think of when I think of these books. [More on that later.]

Note: My thoughts will proceed somewhat in order of novels, but there will be mild spoilers attached. You have been warned.

Book one starts off with a kick. Princess married in secret…shipped off to be secret bride queen. Oh and don’t forget she’s the Chosen One of the century. And does our heroine want this role? Nonsense! Who wants to be a hero? Since when is that cool? Elisa, Elisa, Elisa. Where do I begin with you. We’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship you and I. See, in book one you kinda annoyed the crap out of me. In book two, I tolerated you more because Hector was on the scene, and in book three, we formed a truce of peace. By the end we were friends…I think.

In book one we see her start as a shy timid, but very thoughtful kind of a character. She was interesting, but I didn’t connect with her. We know she’s pudgy and not the skinniest girl on the block. Oh we know alright. It was constantly in the back of Elisa’s brain, making in the back of the readers. That’s probably what annoyed the most. Her belittling  and annoyance of herself. What made me laugh was her awe at the change in her body (in size and fitness) after walking across the freaking desert. Haha. However,  she did have some great moments in thinking, and character. She just didn’t resonate with me.
But before you go and thing she’s just mediocre, let me assure Elisa has her brilliant moments. For example, her tactical genius. Her brain grows up so much in Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom and this is where I started to appreciate her so much more. She gains this layer of smarts and I loved the council scenes and watching her take charge. This was when she rocked and made me feel like she earned her right to Hector.

Now, in book one we’re introduced to a romantic interest, Humberto. Because I already knew darling Hector would be the main love interest, I didn’t care much for Humberto. It was pointless in a way. Now I did have that foresight, and that might have been what dragged this down for me, but that pretty much led to me no caring so much for this book because I wanted all the Hector we could get in book two.
Boy did we ever. Oh mama, Hector was probably THE highlight of Crown of Embers. Can he do any wrong? NO! Can he be wronged? *glares at Elisa* I just loved this book for the moments of Hector. He’s strong, smart, handsome, and he can FIGHT. He’s so loyal to those who are under his care, and those he cares about. It was honestly in this book, while Elisa was still growing in brains and character that I fell for him. He deserves Elisa, of that I have no doubt, but I wasn’t sure she deserved him. Esepescially since the romantic switch between books was somewhat sudden. I wasn’t sure I liked how COE ended in regards to that. [If you know what I am talking about here.]So going into The Bitter Kingdom, I was very hesitant because I still wasn’t on the Elisa train. Not to mention something else still had to win me over.

My other main issue with these books was the world building. It was interesting and we had a neat plot/set up going on, but I was so often lost and confused and bored by it all. Gimme a break. All these things and names of peoples and places to remember…it just wasn’t for me. 
We didn’t click. Here it was there, next minute it was gone. Are they good or are they bad? Wait, how are they connected again? What’s this country/community/badguy? Straighten out this lore, connect these dots. These questions basically made up my lack of interest and connection to the world, which was nice I suppose but not something I cared about. I found myself skimming political and explanatory parts, wanting it all giving to me and wanting to just know the outcome. (mainly in the last book). It’s a shame, but true.

My main drive eventually became Hector. He was such a great character in Crown of Embers that I just wanted his happy ending! Basically it took me two weeks to read The Bitter Kingdom, for lack of me wanting to read everything. I kind of had to make myself read it through to the end. *spoiler* But the ending did come and Hector got his HEA and Elisa became a freaking Empress and it’s all happiness and gumdrops. Huzzah, end of the book!

To conclude, this trilogy was enjoyable to a point and then the rest of it was boring or annoying. Basically Hector wins all. Elisa had her moments of tactical genius and there were elements of action and fantasy I did appreciate. The rest was mediocre. But if you like fantasy, don’t just take my bored word for it. Try this book! Read other more positive reviews. Who knows, you may love these books and come back to curse me for ever disliking them. What? It could happen. 
Series Rating: 3 Stars

Phew! My thoughts have left me without words.Your turn now! What do you think? Merry Christmas Eve!


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