Girl of Fire and Thorns

Girl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson
Greenwillow, 2011

I've had this ARC on my shelf for a while, I won it from a giveaway back in the winter, and finally took the time to read it after hearing a lot of positive buzz about the upcoming sequel. (Nothing like a sequel forthcoming to make me catch up on a series!) After reading Girl of Fire and Thorns, I have no idea what took me so long.

Elisa is the second princess of Orovalle (a young nation), unremarkable and rather content to float through life munching on tasty foods while her sister handles all affairs of state. But Elisa isn't just another princess - she is a Bearer, marked for greatness by a Godstone in her naval. (A little weird, I know, I kept having mental images of the trolls that were popular back in the day). On Elisa's sixteenth birthday, she's married to the King of neighboring country Joya d'Arena - she thinks she's being shipped away to avoid disgrace, but soon learns she's been married into safety, for her own protection. As Elisa starts to settle into her new life, she learns much about the world - and everything she never knew. When life takes an abrupt turn once more, Elisa finds herself coming to terms with a new reality: that of those struggling on the frontlines. Here, in the refugee hideout so close to enemy territory, and across the desert from her new palace home, Elisa discovers the real truth of her destiny - and her own power. As with all good adventures, the story doesn't end when the story ends, and Carson has done a masterful job of setting things up for the next installment. Elisa's first real adventure may have ended, she may have won the battle, but her war isn't over - as her still-living Godstone testifies.

I have discovered that I really like fantasy, and Carson's fantasy is one of those happy discoveries: a world that's just a little "off" from ours. Light fantasy, with strange people and Godstones and names and places not like ours. But it's not so far removed, the names and bits of the language(s) reminded me of Spanish, and I was able to picture the landscapes and peoples with ease. It's a carefully crafted world, with a history and a literature, with language and tradition. I fell a little in love while reading Girl of Fire and Thorns, and look forward to reading Crown of Embers soon!

ARC provided by my personal library.

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