Saturday, 28 September 2013
Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Publication Date: September 20th, 2011
Series: Fire and Thorns
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Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa has always felt powerless, useless. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—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 save his people. And he looks at her in a way no man has ever looked at her before. 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.
I was so excited to start this series. I made myself wait until the last book was released in August so I could marathon them. I'm thinking "this is high fantasy, I'm not going to want to wait a year in between books. I'll forget things. Important things." And what a let down. I mean it was alright. I was just hearing such amazing things that I thought I was going to get another Graceling or Poison Study or Throne of Glass. So maybe that's my fault because those are big shoes to fill. But really the material was there, the execution was not.
I feel like Carson was trying so hard to make this book different then other YA Fantasy out there, that that's what came across. The "try." First off this book is soooo slooowww, that it took me far to many days to get half way through. I could only read a chapter maybe two at a time before major ADD kicking in. It took getting through about 3 quarters of the book before it picked up and got a little more interesting for me. What really slowed this book down for me were:
1. Elisa. Guh, was she annoying. OK, I really liked the fact that Carson gave us this atypical heroine. She's over weight, not some super model, athletic princess. She enjoys her studies, especially languages and war and battle tactics. She's kind of the neglected Princess, which shows in her personality (especially lack of confidence). Elisa definitely shows character growth in the later half of the book. She starts to fit into the leader roll that she's destined for, even though she was never taught those skills growing up because again she was the "other" Princess. Her older, better sister will be Queen of their kingdom one day.
But lets come back to the weight thing. I appreciated that about her. BUT I didn't need to be reminded of it every other page. I got it when we were being introduced to her. I can understand her thinking about not fitting into a dress again or whatever every once in a while because great, she's insecure. We all are. But her constantly thinking about food, eating food or whatever else you do with food just took away from the story. Someone couldn't even start a serious conversation with her without her first saying "I'm hungry." And the other person is probably thinking "yea, of course you are."
2. So Elisa has this Godstone imbedded in her navel. It's part of her. Every 100 years God chooses someone to be the bearer. For what, they or in this case Elisa, doesn't know. Obviously this is in Elisa's every waking thought in life (besides food). At sixteen, when is she going to finally have to prove herself to God? I found the whole Godstone thing kind of weird and uninteresting.
3. Now this book is also very heavy in the religious content. Which is fine, but not really my thing. So I found the amount of time Elisa spent studying some scripture or praying, etc... really slowing down the story as well. I would have preferred more time spent on what's going on the world or more information and back story on the enemy countries. Seeing as your on the verge of war with them.
I really did like the fact that Carson used Spanish lore and language. That's what kept me reading. That's what made the story have different and interesting bits.
I also liked the hint of magic. I wish that it was brought into the story more. But maybe it comes more to the forefront in the next book?
I'm hoping that since this first book was a lot of "telling" the next book will be more "showing." I want the action and magic that was missing here. So although I was disappointed with The Girl of Fire and Thorns I am going to continue with the trilogy (mostly because I own the second book and just took the third one out from the library) in the hopes that it can only get better. *crosses fingers*