The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa 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 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.

Ever since I first heard about The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I've been dying to read it. Not only because the premise sounded fascinating but also because it seemed like it would be something similar to Graceling and Fire, two of my favorite books. Luckily, it was pretty good overall, but in some ways I was a bit underwhelmed...

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the characters. Elisa was flawed yet it made her even more real in my eyes. It was interesting to see her overcome her self-esteem issues as the novel progressed, especially when it ended up landing her in an even better place mentally because of it. What I also enjoyed was seeing how Elisa went from being a timid, diffident girl to one who is not afraid to call the shots and say what's on her mind. It was a long process but an important one to the story as well as the reader nonetheless. I also enjoyed the addition of the revolutionaries such as Cosme and Humerbto. All of them truly brought a great spark to the novel. 

The plot of this was also decent. I enjoyed seeing how Rae Carson shaped the world Elisa and her friends and foes in as well as the different aspects of it such as religion and politics. Every aspect (little to large) was fully developed as well making it even better. Another portion of this novel I enjoyed was finding out more about Elisa's powers, because not only did they bring many twists and turns as well as secrets out of the woodwork but also it was an interesting sub plot overall. The hint of romance in this was fabulous as well, and even though I would have loved some more development to it, I still found it to be satisfactory overall.

However, there were some parts of The Girl of Fire and Thorns that lacked. One was pacing. Sometimes this novel moved at rocket speed and had me fully captivated while at others it moved at snail pace and barely had me following along. Second, it just didn't have that flare I was looking for. Don't get me wrong, it was good but it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. I don't know if this was because my expectations were so high or if because I wanted something more similar to a Kristin Cashore book, but either way it was just missing something in my eyes.... Hopefully, it will be cleared up in the sequels.

Last but not least, Rae Carson's writing was great. I loved the way in which she developed the characters and plot lines as well as the way she was never afraid to do something extreme to the plot lines and characters...though I will say the ending was a little bit too morbid for my liking. In addition, I enjoyed the focus on religion. It was never pushy. Instead, it was woven into the story in a way the book wouldn't be the same without.

In all, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is certainly a good debut, and while it wasn't always what I expected and hoped for I did end up enjoying it quite a bit, and I'm now eagerly awaiting the sequel. 

Grade: B

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads) is now out!

Source: Publisher via Netgalley


  1. Sounds like it was good overall, despite the pacing issues. Great honest review, Lauren! :)

  2. I'm sorry you were underwhelmed in some places, but I'm glad that you liked overall! Great review! :)

    The Musings of ALMYBNENR


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