Cassi aka Snow White Haggard's Reviews > The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
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's review
Sep 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: galleys, kindle, read-in-2011, fantasy, ya
Read on September 04, 2011

I think this book was a matter of the right book at the right time. Sometimes I miss a good fantasy adventure. I wanted something like Tamora Pierce--strong female heroine, fate, gods-intervening and dreamy boys. This book had most of that (mainly it lacked in really dreamy boys. *sadface* Tamora Pierce I need you!)

There's a lot to like about this book. The book immediately thrusts you into the story. It throws you into a world of political intrigue, arranged marriages and bloody battle scenes. Lately it a lot of books seem to start slow, building to the action. Not this book! It jumped right into the story without sacrificing character development. Elisa is developed throughout the action, not before or later as an after-thought.

The premise of the Godstone had me giggling at time. Mainly because I wish God would talk to me through a belly ring (I'd get a piercing for that!). That kind of guidance would be welcomed. Though I tease, I actually liked the concept most of the time. Someone marked by God in an obvious physical way that you cannot ignore. It's just a gemstone stuck permanently in someone's navel is something that takes a little getting used to.

I liked how this novel dealt with faith. Having faith is complicated. Faithful people are often filled with doubts and even the most faithful question God. This book allows Elisa to be both human and chosen. That's refreshing. She's not the type to follow blindly or pretend to know God's will. She's confused but trying to follow her faith. The discussions surrounding faith, such a competing theologies and different understanding of passages, rang really true for me.

God's will. How many times have I heard someone declare their understanding of this thing I find so indefinable?

While I'm glad that this book had a fat Princess it seemed a bit too obsessed with its weight. For the first half of the book it seems Elisa is whining about being fat while simultaneously stuffing her face. Then the heroine really only finds her strength after she burns off the access fat in a month long walk across the desert. I think this book is trying to give overweight girls a role-model but I'm uncomfortable with the picture it presents.

Even though the book isn't perfect, its really enjoyable. For me it was a one day, non-stop read. Elisa is an unlikely heroine, not a strong warrior, but a doubtful child of Faith who second guesses herself all the time. She's realistic. A pampered princess, a little whiney, who's afraid of her great destiny, yet doesn't want to go down in the history books as a failure. This book is recommended for fans of Tamora Pierce type fantasy. It was a nice throwback, a step away from the overrun paranormal genre that seems to be choking out the fantasy books.

I had a few qualms with the ending but those involve spoilers. So enter the spoiler tags at your own risk. (view spoiler)

I also want to note how happy I am that the publisher changed the cover before publication. While the other cover is graphically pleasing--the colors, the font, the swirly thing, it's not Elisa. It could maybe her her sister Alodia or Condessa Arina. But it's not an overweight and dark skinned princess. It's pretty but does not relate to the story. Props to the publisher for realizing their mistake and fixing it. The new cover fits the story much better.
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Reading Progress

9.0% "First 3 chapters have a nice fantasy adventure vibe. Sometimes thats just what I need. All the descriptions of being sweaty does make me feel a little gross though."
31.0% "I'm enjoying it BUT do they really have to talk about how fat she is all the time? I get it. She's fat. She likes food. Point understood."
50.0% "Random thoughts from the halfway point: 1. I wish I had a stone in my bellybutton that I could talk to God with. 2. I do not like seeing "twitter" as a verb in books. This has happened in the last 3 books I've read. 3. I'm trying to ignore the romance/love triangle that's brewing. Mainly because I have a feeling this book would be better without it."
58.0% "This book aware of bodily functions."
80.0% "Well it's rare that a book will actually do that."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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TheFountainPenDiva What's up with the cover fail? Elisa is dark-skinned, right?

Cassi aka Snow White Haggard Yeah. That's why they changed to the current ambiguous cover with the blue stone. Which is much improved and more story-oriented.

Really I'm glad it changed before going to print. Because I get really fed up with cover-fails.

TheFountainPenDiva Actually, I liked the cover with a dark face swaddled in veils. I am so tired of cover fail. It's not the author's fault, but it makes me not want to read the book because it's like rewarding the publisher for being immature bigots.

Cassi aka Snow White Haggard That's not the cover fail one. It's the skinny girl in the purple dress.

Which is pretty much epic since this is the fat princess tale.

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