I don’t know why I like this book. I mean, the heroine has a huge magical jewel stuck in her belly button – isn’t that a ridiculous image? But the fast-paced action and romance must have gotten to me, and coming off of the adrenaline high to review this book means that I have a lot more problems with it now than when I was reading it. However, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is still an incredible adventure that really got my heart pumping!
Prophecies say that the carriers of the Godstone are chosen by God to go on to perform heroic acts… before they die at a young age. Lucero-Elisa de Riquiza, Princess of Oroavalle, doesn’t know how that could possibly happen to her, since the jewel in her bellybutton doesn’t seem to do anything. Plus, her older sister, Alodia, is so much more fit to rule the kingdom than she is. However, when Elisa turns sixteen, she is secretly married to the beautiful King Alejandro of the desert country of Joya d’Arena and thrown into a word of deception and turmoil. Between Alejandro and Humberto – a member of the revolution – vying for her power as well as her heart, Elisa slowly learns about the powers that her jewel brings while trying to escape the horrible end that the prophecies foresee.
Elisa doesn’t seem like anything special, and what’s worse, she thinks that way about herself too. Her low self-esteem comes from feeling too fat (but she also keeps eating, so it’s like an endless attack on her body image) and feeling inferior to her older sister.
I don’t know why I am the one marrying. Surely Joya d’Arena’s king would have chosen the beautiful daughter, the queenly one. My mouth freezes, midchew, as I realize that he probably did.
I am the counteroffer.
This unlikely protagonist slowly but steadily grows throughout the story, as she is forced into challenging and horrifying situations. Plus, she’s able to put her vast knowledge for military history to good use (no matter what she thinks, Elisa has many strengths since the beginning that she doesn’t focus on). Character growth is something that I really enjoyed from this story, and I think Carson controlled the pacing of the story well enough so that Elisa starts building her confidence and self image before I started to hate on her weaknesses too much.
The pacing of The Girl of Fire and Thorns is also incredibly fast. The situations the Elisa gets into are just so risky and shocking that I don’t want to put down the book for fear that I’ll miss the part where she almost gets killed or something. For how fast Elisa is pushed into these situations, I was surprised and disappointed when the book ended where it did, because it didn’t give me anything definitive to end with. I like stories where the adventure ends here and now, and this story didn’t wrap up the romance or the conflict.
And I don’t know how I feel about the romance or the conflict! Elisa is kind of sort of not really stuck in a love triangle (which I already don’t like), and then there are character deaths that also kind of ticked me off. Honestly, I felt kind of lost after reading this because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next… which some people might like, I’m sure. At the end of the day, Elisa’s character development and the intense action scenes were what kept me going.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns was an incredible and exciting adventure, but I’m not sure I want to go through it again. I enjoyed Elisa’s growth a lot and want to learn more about the other characters, and hopefully there will be more answers in the next book.