The Low Down: On her sixteenth birthday, Princess Elisa is married off to the handsome king of neighboring country Joya d’Arena. Along with her hand comes the promise of aid during an mounting war between that country and a neighboring one called Invierne. Yet, when they arrive home, the king asks Elisa to keep their marriage a secret to be revealed in due time. Even though she is the bearer of the Godstone, Elisa has always felt fat and useless. Unimportant. But once living in Brisalduce, she finds out that perhaps what she has been told about the Godstone isn’t the whole truth. As she learns more about its origins, abilities and purpose, she is kidnapped and taken to the hill country. The kidnappers think she is the answer to all of their problems with Invierne. What is the truth about the powers of the Godstone and of Elisa herself?
Best Thang ‘Bout It: It is definitely different than most everything I have read recently. Feels historical. I also like that she’s fat. Her entire being is going to go through the wringer, from her body to her mind to her core belief system, so the fact that she starts off as a lonely, uncertain young girl who uses food to make herself feel better makes it more real. This is definitely a book with girl power.
I’m Cranky Because: While this book is very well-written, it still felt a little like a book I was required to read for English class, you know, more literature than fiction. It reminds me of that genre of South American writing where everything is “normal” except for one bit of mysticism. Like, for example, one character has natural green hair and some “ability” but everyone in the story acts like there’s nothing out of the ordinary about this. There’s not much of an explanation, and the reader is supposed to know instinctively how much emphasis to place on this odd thing. In this book, I don’t get the Godstone. I don’t have a clear picture as to what it looks like and that bothers me. How is it attached in her navel? By blood vessels or does it just sit there? Also, where does the story take place? South America? Spain? Where? I felt lost in the desert. Lastly, and I don’t know how to put this exactly, but sometimes religious themes put me off. Not because they are different or made up or whatever, but just because. I really have no concrete reason.
Should You?: It’s a good book, so I will say if the subject matter catches your fancy, then go for it. My rating is more for the subject than the writing.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson was published on September 20, 2011 by Greenwillow Books.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Mystical Religious Historical War
Ages: 13 and up