The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1)
By Rae Carson
Summary: 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.
Source: I own a kindle copy.
I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns a few years ago and hated it. The main character spent almost half of the book hating herself, talking about food, her weight, how dresses fit her, how her thighs burned, how ashamed she was, how awful she was at everything, and the list goes on. I was expecting a fantasy heroine who would come into her own, which did eventually happen, but I admit I was already “over” the book by the time it got to that point.
But I decided to reread the book because I own the sequel. I purchased it at the same time because I was so sure I’d love the book. And the sequel has sat unread on my kindle for years. How am I supposed to tackle Mount TBR when there’s a roadblock like this? I felt like the first book deserved a second chance now that I know what to expect. I had really high expectations. The book was raved about all over Goodreads, social media, the blogging world, etc. I truly expected something amazing and the main character made me so angry. I couldn’t even understand why people were saying things like “finally, a heroine who isn’t a toothpick!” Because I have yet to read a book where the main character in a fantasy obsesses over her looks and body the way Elisa did in this book. But I knew what to expect going into this reread.
I’ll be honest, I still have a ton of issues with Elisa. Even though I was expecting it, I was still pretty much annoyed for the first 30% of the book. I got it. She was fat. She hated herself. She had low self esteem. Her clothes barely fit. She ate too much. The author could’ve stopped hammering that nail at any point and moved on to the plot. Elisa was likable later on when she finally had a personality change. She stopped being so flipping self centered and began to realize there were other people with real problems around her and she needed to stop escaping into food and wake up. Help a cause. Dive in. And learn who she really was and what she was capable of.
The beginning of the book was still difficult to read because I grew tired of her constantly putting herself down, but I realized that she grew as a person just around the 30% mark and the rest of the book was very good. It was easier to read this time around because I know to expect a change and I knew I just had to suffer through the beginning to get to the good part. The first time I read the book, I was trudging through it with the attitude that it was never going to get better and I was a tad harsh in judging the book that way.
The rest of the book was awesome. Elisa was so fierce. She started to contribute to the cause of the people with her, despite being originally kidnapped by them. She asked questions, ready to finally be answered. The people around her did not tiptoe around her, treat her like a child, or attempt to protect her. And ultimately, that’s what she needed. She realized how naive she was and how the kingdom she would rule was also naive under the current leadership. She pledged to help and begun to come up with some pretty great plans to finally change things and begin her quest as the bearer of the Godstone instead of hiding because of it.
I love the mythology. Once Elisa was away from the people who coddled her, she was quite brilliant and I loved her thought processes with strategizing the best way to get things to happen.
I am definitely glad I gave the book another chance and I can’t wait to pick up the sequel.