The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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.

When you read a lot of YA books (like I do) sometimes they all start to feel the same after a while, even some of the good ones. The Girl of Fire and Thorns felt really different to me and I liked that.

Princess Elisa was chosen at birth, marked with a stone set into her navel. The Chosen are destined for great deeds, or so the legend goes. Beyond that Elisa has few details as to what her destiny really is. She’s married to a stranger at sixteen and leaves her home to join her husband in his palace, only to find that he hasn’t actually told anyone he’s married.

Elisa is not what I expected. In a book infused with magic and secret plots and adventure she is what grounds the book. She starts off perceiving herself as weak and finds her strength slowly. She struggles with weight and body image, but not in a way that distracts from the overall storyline, it’s just part of her character growth . I really liked that. It wasn’t the main focus of the story, but it made her relatable and real.

This whole story felt very grounded to me. It didn’t move along super fast, but it definitely held my interest the whole way through. The one slightly negative thing I have to say is that I never got emotionally caught up in the story. Sad things happened, but once they were over I realized I hadn’t even been phased by them.

Overall I found this to be a unique story with a very distinct voice and I quite enjoyed it.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns on Goodreads & Amazon

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