How do we really know what to believe? This is the question posed in The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
SUMMARY (from back): 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.
WHAT I THOUGHT: I have to say I don’t usually like reads that focus on a religious belief system, but I’m glad I stayed the course because this is a well written series.
In the first book of the trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, we meet Elisa, second in line to the throne, and in her mind, second in everything–she’s overweight, politically inept and expendable, therefore she’s married off to a foreign magistrate to strengthen the bonds of peace with that land.
What Elisa doesn’t fully appreciate, however, is the godstone that appeared in her navel as an infant on her naming day, something that occurs only every 100 years. She’s confused and frustrated by what it means for her and her life and she struggles to invent an identity for herself that satisfies her.
But other nations have plans for her as the Bearer and they kidnap her. Through her ordeal trekking through barren dessert, the soft girl begins to toughen up and question what she has always been taught. The questioning is where Carson’s brilliance shines, for we all question what we believe from time to time and that questioning usually changes us…at times significantly.
I won’t offer any spoilers but suffice it to say, if you love a good mystery that changes and grows the main protagonist, you’ll love this first book in the series.
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