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The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Girl of Fire and Thorns - Trilogy) (edition 2011)

by Rae Carson

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1,0881267,657 (3.9)101
AngelaCinVA's review
This was one of those books that I kept seeing other people recommend. Each time I would think “I probably ought to read that at some point.” But I never did. I am SO glad that this challenge finally prompted me to pick it up. Once I did pick it up, I couldn’t put it down! Elisa is such a wonderful heroine. She feels inadequate, weighed down by other people’s expectations of her as the Chosen one. But as she struggles through pain and adversity, she rises to the challenge, surprising herself and everyone else with her inner strength. I can guarantee that I won’t put off reading the next installment in this trilogy! ( )
  AngelaCinVA | Apr 28, 2012 |
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Flat out amazing.I laughed and cried. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. ( )
  simplybookdrunk | Aug 30, 2014 |
You know those books that you desperately want to tear through, but at the same time you know you should pace yourself and savor them so they last as long as possible? All three installments of the Fire and Thorns trilogy were those kinds of books for me. No weak volumes here. From start to finish, Rae Carson had me hanging on her every word. Kristin Cashore’s Graceling still holds top place on my favorites list, but the Fire and Thorns trilogy is definitely way, way up there.

Full review of the trilogy is posted on Erin Reads. ( )
  erelsi183 | Aug 1, 2014 |
Enjoyed this book even if it was slightly "disjointed" and a bit hard to figure out how in the world the woman ended up leading a revolution.

Bad part was they warp scripture. "Like a pig being brought to slaughter..." It did have some good messages in it about praying and what to do when God doesn't answer prayers and all in all not that offensive so probably OK to buy. ( )
  FaithLibrarian | Jul 29, 2014 |

Elisa is a different type of heroine, as not only does she feel like a useless, fat princess, she carries a Godstone that marks her place in a prophecy. Once she is taken from her privileged life, then the strength of her real character comes forward and proves her to be a capable leader.

But it's a brutal struggle to get through it all, and when her feelings between her husband of an arranged marriage and her kidnapper, Humberto, are split, then she has to make the decision to help her new friends and keep her Godstone from falling in the hands of those who would burn the world with it, or running away while she still can.

Probably the only thing I didn't like about this book is that there is a lot of death, though I'm not going to give away any spoilers. Will be reading the second book of this trilogy. ( )
  Musefall | Jul 29, 2014 |
Hmm...well, I'm intrigued enough to be willing to continue the series, I'll say that. I did feel the main character could have been better written, especially during the first part of the series. It isn't til she is kidnapped that I started to even like her. I wish some of the secondary characters were better developed and wish there had been more development of the relationship between Elisa and Humberto. Not the best young adult fantasy novel I've read, but I suppose my biggest compliant is that I want more, not less of the characters. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jul 3, 2014 |
This review originally appeared on Book.Blog.Bake.

While reading this book, my thoughts towards it jumped all over the place. At times I liked it. Sometimes I LOVED it. And sometimes I was just too confused to know what to do with myself. All in all, though The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a really great high fantasy YA, a genre for which I have pretty high standards.

I was skeptical about this book at the beginning. Our main character, Elisa, has a Godstone in her navel, placed there at her birth. And yes, that is just as weird as it sounds, and no, it never becomes less weird the more I think about the story. The Godstones are significant–a living symbol of the divine and a powerful tool. The Godstone is a living thing, and Elisa uses it to guide her throughout the story. Now that, I could get behind. I mean, in a religious perspective, who wouldn’t want something that told them all the time what God’s will was, if your goal in life was to follow it?

And that’s another thing I thought was so interesting about The Girl of Fire and Thorns–the religion in the book. It’s not religious, but it does play a big role, and I thought the way Carson weaved religion in this story was so flawlessly done. It’s similar enough to theistic beliefs of our world, but it was incorporated in a way that had it’s own back story and it’s own legends behind it in the book.

In fact, the world-building in The Girl of Fire and Thorns in general was pretty perfect. There’s a lot of names and people and fighting, and I did lose track sometimes, but I never lost belief in the world. The fighting and the stakes felt real, which is something I always look for in a high fantasy novel. I learned early on that no one in this book was safe, and as sadistic of a reader that may make me, I like that. I need to feel that the main character and the secondary characters I love are in real danger to keep me interested in a story like this, and Carson does that well.

Elisa is. . . well, I’m not quite sure how I feel about her. She’s real and raw, and I appreciate that. I do feel her character growth was a little sudden at times. While I was all for some character growth and for Elisa to really come into her own and start being as awesome as she could be, it did feel like quite a quick transformation. However, the book does mention that quite a bit of time passes in just a few sentences, so I guess her character change isn’t as sudden as it seems. As a reader, though, I would have liked just a little more development in that section. That being said, I LOVE the person Elisa was at the end of this book. She was still real, raw, and flawed, but she also became the character you root for and say something like “You go, girl!”

The only other minor thing even worth mentioning is that the plot of this book wasn’t my favorite, but I think that was more of a personal thing. Warring sections and alliances and such aren’t my favorites, but I can’t deny they were well done. I’m still so shocked that at the time of writing, The Girl of Fire and Thorns was Carson’s debut novel. While the writing itself blows me away, I don’t think I ever would have guessed this was a first novel, which is quite an accomplishment. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy the rest of the trilogy even more. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
Elsa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and 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 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 things 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 hart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those people who need her most. If the prophesy is fulfilled. If she finds the power within herself. If she doesn't die young.
Most of the chosen do.

My thoughts:
When I first read reviews for this book, prior to picking it up to read myself, I was turned off by several who mentioned that the author uses the trials of the desert as a way for Elisa to lose weight. For a long time that kept me from reading this book until finally I picked it up because my mind kept wandering toward's its story. After reading the whole book I would have to respectfully disagree with the other reviewers who found the desert sequence and Elisa's resultant loss of weight repugnant.

Readers will find it difficult to not sympathize with Elisa. She is fat, and she knows it. She eats when she is nervous and unhappy. These are things that most people can empathize with. All her life she has been told that she is chosen but no one, not even herself, has ever expected her to do anything. On her 16th birthday she is suddenly thrown into a world at chaos, with only her faithful nurse to guide her. She changes, she grows. She remarks upon it herself, thinking of how flippant she is on several occasions. In the much debated desert sequence food is scarce, sure. But the author does not emphasize this aspect of the journey. Elisa walks, she exercises in other ways. She grows to know more about who she is and what she is capable of, even if its just exercise. In the beginning of the story she remarked on how her sister was the athletic one, not her. It sort of sounded as if she'd set out to be the opposite of everything her sister was and now, in the desert, she discovered she can be more too.

I found this book to be a great story of a girl growing into who she is, growing into the woman she needs to be. So many things happen to her towards the end of the book that if you imagine the girl we met at the beginning of the book facing these things we would find her hiding in the kitchen scarfing down pastries rather than plotting the defense of a city against invaders and solving a religious puzzle that leads to the salvation of an entire country. I look forward to reading the remaining two books in this series and discovering, along with Elisa, just how many ways a person can grow.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fairy tales and often wondered if being the heroine was all it seemed to be. This book definitely shows the difficult, gritty side of being a hero. ( )
  LisaBost | Mar 3, 2014 |
I once read a quote that said something along the lines of "I don't expect an author to make me happy, only to take me to new worlds." This book most definitely took me to new worlds, though I can't say it made me happy, because it was a sad book overall. The writing was very good, though I wasn't overly fond of the main character. The pace was a little slow for my taste, but she did a beautiful job of description and scene setting.

The quote on the front of the book says it's "engrossing" and I have to agree with that. It is. It just wasn't the kind of book that made my heart sing, that had me really rooting for the characters, and fully invested in the outcome. ( )
  CyndiTefft | Feb 6, 2014 |
Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating: 2.5 Out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: Audiobook purchase
Reviewer: Joint Review Jennifer and Diayll


Girl of Fire and Thorn by Rea Carson was interesting. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t my favorite story either. It opens of the sixteenth birthday/wedding day of Elisa. The youngest daughter of the king of a small isolated kingdom, she doesn’t see herself as anything special. She is short, chubby and has no particular skills. The only thing that she feels is special is the gem embedded in her navel. Known as the Godstone, she is the first bearer chosen in a century. This reason is the only one she can fathom as to why her father chose her to wed King Alejandro. Immediately following her wedding, she is whisked away from her home and sent to live in his kingdom. When they finally arrive, Elisa’s life gets even more difficult when Alejandro ask her to keep their marriage and her identity as the bearer of the stone a secret. She is also wanted by enemies of the kingdom who intend to use her as a weapon.

In a lot of ways I liked this story, but I hated that throughout the majority of the story you feel bad for Elisa. Most of us can relate to her in some way, body image issues and the feeling of being inadequate just to name a few. But all the other things the happened to her made the story almost unbearable to read. While it was satisfying to watch her come into her own, the journey to get there was terrible to read. There were also some other things about the story I absolutely could not stand. The way she loses weight for instance, while I understand that she was lost in a desert and starvation is bound to happen, I don’t like that this is how she lost the weight.

For a fairy tale lovers (and closet romantics) like myself, this book is a serious reality (as real as it can be) check. It’s not easy to be a princess/ secret queen/ bearer of a supernatural magic stone. If you can get passed the general sadness of it, the story is actually pretty interesting. I haven’t completely given up on this series and I hope the next installment is better.



My Rating


2.5 Out of 5 Controllers

Jennifer




I completely have to agree with Jennifer on this one. I actually started out listening to this audio ages ago, and when I finished, I loaned it to my cousin because I just didn’t know how I felt about it. It was good…not great. Nothing really stood out in the story for me to say WOW. I think most of my issues stem from how the first half just drags…and drags…and drags on. It was like slowly walking up a hill and never actually reaching the top. Not until a little over midway through did I begin to fall in love with the story.

I’m not sure if it was the writing style of the narrator for The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but between the monotone voice of the MC to the lack of action in the beginning, I was less than impressed. I wanted to love this novel and by the end, maybe I did. Heck a part of me does I think in some way, feel “the feels”. The side characters to me are what kept it alive. I think they were very well written and I enjoyed what each brought to the story. I just wished I could have loved Elisa. She was always so down on herself, and then I’d see a spark in her and a feisty spirit. I wish I’d gotten more of that spirit through out the entire novel. She kept putting herself down so much I just wanted to thump her forehead and tell her to “woman up!”. At some point, you expect the main character to get a backbone and speak her mind or just do SOMETHING for his/herself. In this case, we don’t get much of that. Which is very sad because Fire and Thorns #1 could have been really, really, awesome.

Overall, read it. You might like it. You might love it. But if you’re looking for a strong character that shines bright across the pages…you might not find it here. It’s unusual for me not to love a good fantasy story, but this one…totally missed the mark.


My Rating


2.5 Out of 5 Controllers

Diayll ( )
  momgamerwriter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Although not as good as some YA Fantasy of this ilk, like by Cashore, I found this enjoyable. I specifically liked a heroine who was not thin/athletic but still able to use her intellect and strategy to overcome. There were few surprises in the end but again, this was a fast, enjoyable read. ( )
  HunyBadger | Jan 31, 2014 |
An interesting YA novel dealing with issues of duty, fate, kismet, and faith. I was actually surprised that this was a YA book--not that it detracted from the story in any way, but there were several intense scenes (including a horrific death). I enjoyed the deeper issues here, especially the heroine's questions of her god given duty: what is it, what must she sacrifice to achieve it, and is she capable of giving her all? I felt like the ending solution was a bit rushed, but overall a very strong debut (as a side note, I also LOVED that the 'romance' wasn't forced down the reader's throat, and dealt with realistic issues like one-sided attraction, fickle attraction which changes over time based on physical changes, etc). ( )
  willowsmom | Jan 15, 2014 |
I really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, so much that I’ve been having a hard time coming up with the words to describe it. The story takes you on an epic journey, with high-stakes adventure, romance, suspense and magical elements. It’s a strong beginning to a new high fantasy series and earns a spot with my favorite fantasy books by Maria V. Snyder and Kristin Cashore. The fearless storytelling and world building kept my interest and I felt like I was right in the center of the action with the protagonist Elisa.

Right away the story takes you on a journey, as Elisa leaves home to embark on a new life. The world building is set up skillfully well to show the sights, sounds, political landscape and culinary delights of Joya. The story has a leisurely pace at the beginning to give you the lay of the land before abruptly taking you out of your comfort zone and into a new direction. The visual descriptions of the setting are interesting and made the desert locales come alive. Also, there are religious undertones in the story that naturally work together with the Godstone and the idea of the prophecy to fulfill. I found the religious aspect to be non-intrusive and added dimension to Elisa’s story.

Though the story has very successful fantasy elements, the characterization is also well done. There are several supporting characters that add interest to the story. As the book progresses, Elisa gets stronger inside and out and people begin to respond more favorably to her. However, there are a handful of characters that can see Elisa’s value from the very beginning and help to build her self-esteem. It’s interesting to view Elisa’s interactions with those around her and to see her confidence grow.

The fantasy, adventure, and smart, strong and unconventional heroine made for an interesting and exciting read that kept my interest throughout. There are surprises and the feeling that anything can happen to these characters that kept me on my toes. I also liked the message behind the story. This is the first book of a trilogy, but the book has a satisfying conclusion on it’s own while leaving Elisa’s path open to new opportunities. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Crown of Embers, due out in October 2012. ( )
  readingdate | Jan 7, 2014 |
This review was originally posted here on the Legend Awards website. I received a review copy of this book from the folks at the David Gemmell Legend Awards because it was nominated for a Morningstar Award (debut novel). Sadly, it didn’t make the shortlist, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book.



Fire and Thorns is about Elisa, a sixteen year old second princess who was chosen by God for a higher purpose and who, at the very start of the novel, is married off to a neighbouring king. This is very much a coming of age story in which we watch Elisa grow from a fat and useless princess — in her own eyes — to queen.

When she was a baby, God sent Elisa a Godstone, a gem which is lodged in her bellybutton and which marks her as chosen to perform a divine service. But she has no idea what that service might be, or how she can possibly achieve it.

I liked the setting Carson chose to write. It’s a blend of Middle Eastern location — deserts, adobe houses, dark-skinned people — and Spanish linguistics. At first I was a little geographically confused when Elisa first left her father’s kingdom (I wished the book included a map) but this was resolved as the story wore on and she travelled more. Likewise, I found the Spanish-inspired names a bit confusing in what my brain associated with an Arabic setting, but culturally, I think it worked, especially as we learnt more about the religion and the Godstones.

At the start of the novel, Elisa is has a bit of an inferiority complex. However, she’s been well trained by her tutors and when she arrives in her new kingdom, she discovers that her skills — particularly what she knows of war and strategy — can be put to good use. She is also overweight and, although she never defines herself entirely by her weight, part of her low self-esteem is tied to her thinking everyone sees her as “fat and useless”. When she faces trials throughout the book, it’s really nice to watch her confidence and self-worth grow as she overcomes them. By the end, I found it quite plausible that she could go on to be a great queen.

The main criticism I have, and the only thing that made this feel like a first novel, is that the setting was a little bit under-described. Despite being told in first person, I thought a little bit more setting description beyond the character’s immediate surroundings would have been nice. For example, some explanation of the nature of the jungle separating her father’s and husband’s desert kingdoms. Since Elisa is well-educated, I think this could have easily worked. In the same vein, some of the secondary characters could have been fleshed out a little more. Also, the role of women in their societies was never explicitly discussed. I got the feeling that there were few prejudices stopping women from being in power (there were no issues with her sister inheriting her father’s throne, for example), but then why was she married off without consultation? Maybe because she was a princess, but we don’t get a chance to find out how similar arrangements are made among commoners of her father’s kingdom (though there are vague hints about how it works in her husband’s kingdom).

Nevertheless, I enjoyed Fire and Thorns. According to Carson’s website, it’s the first book in a trilogy, but it is quite self-contained and absolutely stands alone. From the ending, I can see where the sequels might take the story, but there is certainly no cliff-hanger and no niggling loose ends. I’ll probably take a look at the next book when it comes out, but it’s not quite at the top of my to read list.

I recommend Fire and Thorns to lovers of fantasy and YA fantasy, especially those who’ve had enough of medieval-style settings.

4 / 5 stars ( )
  Tsana | Jan 2, 2014 |
★★★½

I loved that the author chose a Spanish-influenced culture for the story's backdrop. In most of the fantasy I've read, the cultures tend toward more English and French roots, with plenty of Norwegian and Viking-ish clones. I've also seen quite a few with Arabic and Egyptian accents, but Spain? I don't think I've read any like that before. That I find very exciting.

So it's refreshing to see that influence in the book, in the character's names, place settings, and even the flow of the language. The fact that I'd recently returned from a trip to Spain before reading likely influenced my notice of the language. As I read, the text flowed with a Spanish cadence through my head, the lull and rise of rolling syllables and the passion behind the words.

That said, I struggled with one element of the story, and it colored my overall impression of the book. The main character, Princess Elisa, isn't skinny, not in the least. That's great; books need more characters who represent teens of all colors, shapes, and sizes. The problem I has was with the way Carson handled (treated? I can't think of the right word) Elisa's obesity. Yes, overweight women and teens eat a lot, or at least more than they're burning off through activity, but I don't know of a single woman dealing with weight issues who thinks of food all the time. Sure, Elisa's a stress-eater (I am too, though I've learned to temper it to a good extent), but focusing so much of the character's thoughts on food and eating—always hungry, need food—overstates it to the point of caricature.

I'm guessing Carson didn't intend for it to come across that way, but with so much emphasis placed on the princess' eating habits (even once she begins to lose weight), it threw the story out of balance for me. It became the story of a fat princess who loses weight, and not the story of an awkward girl who does her best to save a kingdom despite some rather difficult physical and emotional limitations.

All that said, it's an enjoyable read, and I can see why it has so many devoted fans. The book was reminiscent of—and perhaps a tribute to—Tamora Pierce's [b:Alanna|9394691|Alanna|Tamora Pierce|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1301914566s/9394691.jpg|1936544] series. So I'm giving this book 3 1/2 stars with the hope that the sequel will improve upon the first and make this a 5 star series.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a review copy! ( )
  shellwitte | Dec 11, 2013 |
I liked this book alright.. it was definitely interesting. But I felt that it was hard to follow at times, like there were too many characters, and new words, and phrases I was unfamiliar with. I was slightly disappointed about the love interest(s) as well. With that being said, it was exciting and inspiring! I started on the next book already :D ( )
  asgwilli | Dec 2, 2013 |
Wow. WOW.

I'm completely unable to put together a coherent thought, let alone a coherent review. I may attempt it later, when my brain recovers. ( )
  emmyson | Oct 9, 2013 |
The fast paged plot kept me turning the pages-I stayed up past bedtime to finish the entire novel in one sitting. I liked that the protagonist wasn't perfect and struggles with weight and family issues on top of her enemies. However, her love relationships were not fully fleshed out (in my opinion) and all ended rather conveniently in death. (She never has to really figure out her feelings.) I also had some issues with the Godstones-it is never explained how certain individuals ended up with old ones. Still, I'd read the sequel! ( )
  kimpiddington | Oct 1, 2013 |
Full review on Reader's Dialogue: http://readersdialogue.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-girl-of-fire-and-thorns.html

This book was recommended to me because I love Robin McKinley's Damar novels. And I immediately saw why. The two series are very similar, though each one has its own unique voice and style. It starts with a girl who thinks she's worthless and winds up being the most important person in the world. Along the way, there's kidnapping, royal marriages, intrigue, budding romance, stark loyalty, friendship, loss...

Elisa is so compelling right from the start, even as she's being obnoxiously insecure and finding comfort in food. I absolutely loved the food aspect, by the way. Because Elisa turns to food so often, there's a ton of mention of food throughout the book, and I loved the inventiveness as some foods were recognizable and some were completely novel and delightfully exotic (I'll pass on the rat soup, though, which apparently Elisa will too!). Her insecurities actually become the point of entry for us to identify with her, and the way the king treats her leaves us as confused as she is. She of course thinks there's a deeper reason for the king marrying her than her beauty, of which she assumes she has none, but when he appears to love her, she begins to tentatively hope. And though the king is far from a bad person, I couldn't help hating him a little as he was so blind to Elisa as a person needing love and acted kind in a way that cut deep.

The Godstone that rests in Elisa's navel is just as confusing. She thinks she gets help and responses from God, but she doubts it also, and she hates it at times for allowing her friends to die when she prays and it sends warmth as if it's accepting her prayer. Her relationship with the Godstone is central to the story, of course, and is essential to her growth.

Humberto is possibly the only person who doesn't act ambiguously. Elisa doesn't trust him at first, but I loved every scene that he was in, because he has such a quiet strength and is such a perfect gentleman. I sort of fell in love with him. Which makes what happens so much harder, of course, and I really hope Elisa finds a way out of it in the next book - like in the first few pages, maybe, please? Though I know that's not really possible.

But the main part of Elisa's journey is discovering her own worth and rising to the challenge presented to her, and I think her realization at the end of the book about the connection between her being chosen and her choosing to act is so heartwarming. And I can't wait to find out how it all plays out further... ( )
  EstherShaindel | Sep 30, 2013 |
It is nearly impossible for me to say anything about this book without drawing comparisons to Robin McKinley's [b:The Blue Sword|407813|The Blue Sword (Damar, #1)|Robin McKinley|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1286927812s/407813.jpg|2321296]. Both feature reluctant heroines who are blessed with some sort of special-ness that they don't know how to handle, they both grow significantly throughout the book, and both stories have significant portions that take place in a desert! (Okay, maybe it was the desert that did it for me.)

I really did enjoy The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I liked the characters, and I felt the pacing was well done- just when I may have begun to get bored, something exciting happened that drew me in farther.

Enjoyable read, altogether. Not amazing, but likable and exciting nonetheless.
( )
  kateminasian | Sep 23, 2013 |
Pros:
* fun heroine
* made me think of Spanish royalty
* interesting concept

Cons:
* could not get the image of a troll doll out of my head
* started with a bang, ended with a whimper

On one hand, I really want to laud Rae Carson for not insisting her YA novel be a trilogy. However, I really feel like each part could have been fleshed out to be a stand alone novel. There were several interesting characters whose background was rushed through to advance the story, but could have unfolded at a more natural pace with additional pages. ( )
  ErikaWasTaken | Sep 22, 2013 |
By no stretch of the imagination is this a great book, but it was such fun to read. Uses the cheap trick of killing off the characters you love a bit too often, but it works because everyone feels expendable--in a good way, I think. Not in a George R R Martin way. ( )
  KateBond | Sep 20, 2013 |
One of the most amazing YA fantasy novels I have ever read. Carson busts out of the debut gate guns a’blazin’. Elisa is incredibly relatable for the teenage sect because instead of being perfect always, she is in fact perfectly flawed. She is the black sheep of her family. She will never rule, be as pretty as, as smart as, or as cunning as her sister. Elisa is heartbreakingly aware of her flaws and seeks to be a better princess for her realm. This same need to perfect her imperfections leads her to be a good princess and marry a mysterious stranger, she hopes this stranger is ugly because then she won’t have to love him, and if she doesn’t love him it will not hurt her when he finds it impossible to love her back.

Elisa is one of the chosen, she bears the god stone which means she is destined to fulfill a great act on behalf of her god. Elisa knows nothing of the history of the god stone and as she sets off with her husband to her new land that she will rule as queen she begins to learn more about the strange cold stone lodged in her belly button and her destiny as the chosen.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a no holds barred fantasy. Things are not easy and there is a lot of soul searching to be done. Is her religion the right one or could the army she is facing and trying to destroy doing god’s will?

The world building is fantastical, the side characters fully fleshed out with immense personality and the plot is beautifully woven in and out of intricate sub plot patterns all the way to the conclusion, and yes there is a real conclusion. I am head over hills in love with this book and I cannot wait for the sequel entitled Crown of Embers coming in October 2012 (way before the mayan calendar ends). ( )
  Bookaliciouspam | Sep 20, 2013 |
Yeah, I realize I’m a bit behind on this series, but better late than never, right? So there is one person every century who is chosen as the bearer of a Godstone and destined to fulfill some great, divine purpose. Elisa is the bearer and a princess, married off to the king of a neighboring country as a move in a looming war. But it seems everyone wants the Godstone she bears, and will go to any lengths in order to obtain it. Let me tell you, you’ll have your heart ripped out a handful of times while reading this story, but it is worth the heartache. Elisa begins the story as a frightened and uncertain sixteen-year-old girl, but grows and becomes infinitely stronger than even she could imagine. I was awake until four in the morning reading it because I could not put it down. It reminds me of the sort of world Graceling and Throne of Glass are set in, of sorts. And, of course, there is a magic unique to this story–the whole concept of the story is fresh and imaginative, really, and well worth the read. 5/5 stars ;) ( )
  danitronmc | Sep 9, 2013 |
Elisa is the younger of two princesses in a fantasy kingdom called Oravalle, surrounded by other kingdoms embroiled in war and intrigue. Most importantly, she carries a "Godstone", impressed on her abdomen, one of the "chosen ones" to serve her people in some way. But Elisa, while dedicated to her religious studies, still does not know what her task must be. But this sixteen year old must also take her place as the new queen of a neighboring kingdom's young king; even before their journey is completed they are attacked and Elisa must fight her way out of certain death. The uncertain young queen finds she must navigate the difficult waters of palace alliances, her king's impending crisis as two armies begin to move towards his lands-Joya d'Arena- and her own doubts about being a queen to her new people. Suddenly, Elise is captured by a group of king Alejandro's desert subjects - a small group who want to fight the encroaching army, especially since they're already infiltrating and killing many in their villages. Elisa is thrust in yet another foreign environment, but determined to live, adjusts to the desert and trekking alongside her captors, slowly realizing, and empathizing with their true plight. Her godstone also begins to guide her more clearly, even while she discovers she's falling for one of the desert leaders, Humberto. While the opening section felt a bit slow, the plot pick ups steam by part II (the desert abduction and Elisa's eventual acceptance of her role as a leader with the desert villagers). Elisa's voice at the start of the novel is hesitant, insecure, definitely a reluctant courtesan in a complex world of kingdoms in some place/time of the past, (I thought Spanish because of many of the proper name choices, the religious ceremonies, etc). But it's also fantasy fiction: key magical elements (godstones, the religion which honors these special ones, and even sorcerers with evil powers) provide Elisa with beyond her years wisdom and truly threatening enemies. This is a y.a. fantasy fiction which will definitely appeal to girls: Elisa struggles with many of the challenges teen girls face, but also becomes a determined, brave leader in the fight against the invading armies of Invierne, all while discovering first love and loss. ( )
  BDartnall | Sep 1, 2013 |
Everything I love in a fantasy: strong heroine, unique voice, political intrigue and danger, excellent worldbuilding, good pacing, engrossing plot. ( )
  SheilaRuth | Aug 23, 2013 |
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