The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
"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."- summary from Amazon
I simply adored this book. Once I found out that Tamora Pierce had blurbed it and that it was being compared to her novels as well, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. It really is very Tamora-ish but of course Carson makes her unique style and amazing ability for world-building shine through. I only have an ARC so it doesn't have this but it would be really cool if a map of Elisa's world was included, just like with Tamora's books because I could easily see a map being made. Elisa winds up in a ton of places throughout the book and Carson did a great job with detailing how the world was set up and where lands were. The mythology of everything was explained really well and was interesting, and I also liked how Carson handled the faith aspect. While God is a big presence in the book, it never feels overwhelming or preachy; it feels right.
Now, on to Elisa. I loved her- she's just such a wonderful main character and one that a lot of readers could identify with. I personally identified with wanting to eat awesome things all the time and also not wanting to walk in the desert preferring instead to sit on my butt at home. Of course, Elisa perseveres and, like I said before, travels to a variety of places, which makes the book more interesting than if she had her (and my) way. Other characters really stood out- Ximena, Rosario, Humberto, Father Nicandro, Lord Hector, and so many others; Carson made sure to flesh out these characters and get the reader really involved in their story.
Overall, a compelling fantasy debut and I cannot wait to read more from Carson, both the next books in this trilogy and also anything else she writes. She also continues the awesome trend of completing an adventure in the first book while leaving the reader wanting more, instead of basically splitting up one story into three books and having a huge cliffhanger in each book. Keep doing this, authors! It's much better for all involved.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.