Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorn

Synopsis: 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.

My Review: 
I bought this book forever ago because everyone said it was really good.  It has been sitting on my shelf for a good 4 months.  If not longer.  I blame college.  Anyway, I finally got around to reading it and I cannot believe it took me that long to pick up this book.  I was glued to this from beginning to end.  I absolutely freakin adored this.  

I think the thing that struck me most about this novel was Elisa.  She was so far removed from your typical YA MC that it was truly astounding.  Her appearance is similar to that of hispanics and she's not stick thin.  Most of the comments from other characters is that she is fat.  And really, I loved her all the more for it.  So often in the book world all characters are white.  Or if there are ethnic characters the cover often doesn't stay true to their ethnicity.  It's this lingering phobia of race and ethnicity that weaves it's way into the modern novel.  Society has it in its head that everyone should be white, thin, and pretty.  Elisa single handedly smashed every single one of those stereotypes to smithereens.  And breaking stereotypes is not the least of her accomplishments.  I think Elisa as a character is a great role model for young girls. It just goes to show how shallow most people are, and true beauty comes from within.  I could probably talk forever about this, but if you've read it or plan on reading it, you'll understand what I mean. 

The world building was just amazing as well.  I greatly enjoyed the almost Roman Catholic influence on the cultures of this world.  The theology as well as the concept of being God's chosen.  Even the Godstone was pretty cool and unique.  If this had been purely a religious heavy book I'd have hated it, but thankfully this was not the case.  Carson did an impeccable job of weaving adventure, conflict, magic, and romance all into this story and still incorporate a strong theological foundation for the world without getting preachy.  It truly was just perfectly balanced.  

All of the characters were just wonderful.  Usually I can pick out a few that lacked fleshing out or three dimensionality.  It's so easy to make secondary characters flat, but I can honestly say there was not one character that I didn't feel like was well rounded.  I felt like everyone had their part to play, but they each had their own motivations and inner turmoils for the things they did.  The characters I started out hating ended up surprising me with acts of valor or kindness.  The cast was just truly remarkable.  

The only complaint I really have against this novel is that the author killed off my favorite character.  Seriously, like the most lovable, sweet, sensitive, and brave character I've ever had the pleasure of reading, and they get killed off in the first book.  I sobbed.  Hard core.  And I don't even feel embarrassed over crying over a fictional character because I bawled my eyes out when Hedwig died in HP. I get emotionally attached.  Still, it crushed me.  I feel like it crushed me more than it did Elisa.  I had to literally stop reading and go to work to calm myself down and stop the flow of tears.  God I'm getting sad all over again just writing this.  :( 

Enough of my blubbering.  Moving on. 

I think it's safe to say that I absolutely loved this book.  I will praise it up and down till I convince everyone to read it.   Or at least my friends and family who read.  I might be satisfied with that.  The only plus side for me having read this so late in the game is that now I just have to wait till September for the sequel! Or if I am extremely lucky before then.  Truly though, new favorite book for 2012.  (It being published in 2011 is besides the point) :P