The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
By: Rae Carson
hardcover, 424 pages
Published: September 20th, 2011 by Greenwillow Books
My Review Breakdown
FINAL SCORE: 20/25 = 4 Cupcakes
MY RATING: Simply Delectable!!!
WHY I WANTED THIS BOOK: I've never been into the fantasy genre before and can't lie, I was very hesitant to give this book a try. But when I saw it on the shelf at my library (Hello! Free read!) I decided, hey, what the heck! Luckily, I wasn't disappointed.
STORY/PLOT: In one word - UNIQUE. I can't think of another book even similar to this. Again, this may have to do with the fact that up until this book I hadn't read many- if any - fantasy titles, but it truly is unique. It starts out a bit slowly and was slightly difficult for me to visualize Elisa's world but once Part 1 ended and Part 2 threw us into the meat of the book, I was hooked.
One lovely thing about this book is that it takes place in several different settings, all of which are unique in all aspects - landscape, inhabitants, purpose and beliefs. Carson marvels at creating one unified world with these individual microcosms within it. When I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about it. There really weren't any times where I knew what was going to happen save for maybe one or two scenes. Otherwise Carson keeps you guessing until the end.
CHARACTERS: I really didn't like Elisa when the book first began. She was this helpless, almost dumb fat girl who ate all the freaking time and never did anything worth mentioning in her life. Cut to Part 2 and I love Elisa. Love her to bits! She's the PERFECT heroine. She's smart, sassy, and steps up to the plate and fights for what's right. She's very selfless, never thinking about herself, but putting others ahead of herself.
King Alejandro also bothered me. He's pitiful and pathetic, but gains respect at the end of the book. He likes to sit back and let others do his fighting and dirty work, and doesn't take an active role in his son, Prince Rosario's, life. He also is in love with his mistress, Arina, and keeps his marriage to Elisa a secret.
Another amazingly wonderful character is Cosme. Cosme, who begins as a treacherous maid for Arina - doing her spying for her, despises Elisa. And the end it's safe to say that they are probably as close to best friend's as two girls can become. She's smart and she's been hurt and betrayed so she puts on a frigid, icy front but it's to protect herself.
WRITING: Again, Part 1 left me wondering if I'd make it past my "Golden Rule", which is if I'm not hooked by page 100 I make the ultimate decision - keep reading, or give up? What was turning me off was that the book had a very Spanish feel to it with the names and names of places, but the description was that the land was very desert-like, but very hilly. I just had trouble connecting everything together. Also, maybe it's just me but for a fantasy I would think that the spiritual being wouldn't be called God but in this book there is a God, and he chooses 1 person every century to be a "bearer" meaning they have a "Godstone" in their navel. They then are supposed to do something amazing, maybe miraculous, even? So there was a pretty heavy religious tone to the story, which isn't my cup of tea, but it was done in a respectable, unique way that didn't irk me whatsoever. I think Carson handled the themes and tones of the book perfectly.
Also, I have to commend Carson on her ability to kill off characters. Holy heck is that a breath of fresh air!!! I haven't been so ticked off at an author for killing off characters since JK Rowling's Harry Potter series! Yes, I said ticked off, but what I mean is, thank you! Thank you for not creating a picture-perfect book with the happily ever after (Twilight, anyone?) Carson cares what her fans think and feel and want, but also doesn't lose herself or her story in the meantime.
ENDING: Carson did exactly what I love - gave a lot of closure, but left enough open to make me want, need, crave more!! It ended absolutely perfectly and sets up the main theme (at least what I think the main theme is...) for the rest of the trilogy.
COVER: The cover isn't anything breathtaking but it's perfect for the book. A simple cover for a complex story.
LAST THOUGHTS: If you're like me and haven't really ventured into the Fantasy genre before - this is an awesome book to start with. I cannot wait to get my hands on the two remaining books in the trilogy (Due out Fall 2012, and 2013 respectively) because holy macaroni, this book rocked my socks!!
READ THIS IF YOU LIKED: Umm... Need some help from my lovely readers here. Since this is my 1st Fantasy novel - what are some other good ones you'd recommend??