Friday, July 15, 2011
The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a magnificent fantasy debut, and it's hard to say which is more spectacular: the setting, or heroine Elisa. Carson's world is so vibrant and three-dimensional, with wonderful descriptions of the food, decoration, language, mannerisms, and lifestyles of the people of Orovalle and those from all over Joya d'Arena. Everything has a wonderful Spanish influence that makes this tale unique and authentic. These lands also have their own religion, a bit akin to Christianity, which ties in with the Godstone Elisa carries and is a prominent part of the story. Elisa herself is a lovely character to observe as she starts off her adventure an insecure, plump girl uncertain about her future and her place in Joya d'Arena. She combats those feelings with pastries and self-deprecating humor, unsure of how to act despite her intelligence. Circumstances beyond her control rip her from comfortable surroundings a second time, and this time Elisa is forced to face her unwanted future and duties, beginning a transformation into the powerful, incisive leader that was lurking beneath her surface the entire time. Elisa's mistakes and doubt about her destiny as the bearer of the Godstone are quite similar to the doubts we all face in life, making her a very sympathetic character, and all the more likable when she triumphs over her own indecision and the real enemies she faces.
There are also many different and interesting supporting characters in this book that make Elisa's journey complicated and rather entertaining: Cosme and Humberto, enemies who aren't at all what they first appear to be, Alejandro, Elisa's husband who is a stranger to her, and Lord Hector, guard and surprising ally to Elisa in her new foreign home. Their presence complicates and lightens the story in different manners, and each one teaches Elisa important lessons about life and being a leader. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a beautiful and impeccably written novel, with heart, suspense, action, betrayal, and triumph--all of the makings of a truly epic fantasy.
Cover Comments: I really love this cover! I like how the blue stone is on the cover, like the Godstone, and how it shows the girl's reflection, and the magical feel to the images surrounding the stone. Also, the font for the title is just awesome. This is a beautiful cover!
This one will be released on September 20th, 2011! I can hardly wait!
ARC picked up at HarperCollins event.
ETA: I'm getting a lot of feedback from readers who are put off by the religion in the book. I compared it to Christianity in my review, but it IS NOT Christianity. It has some similar elements, but it is its own religion, unique to this fantasy world. I definitely encourage you to pick this book up and not let any worries about religion deter you. I also think that it's beneficial to remind you all that many great fantasy reads have their own form of religion--Tamora Pierce's Tortall books do, Elizabeth C. Bunce's StarCrossed does...it's just another element that makes the world more realistic, and it doesn't necessarily reflect any religion known in our world. So, let's keep an open mind, okay? Don't miss out on an AMAZING book because you are unsure about one element of the plot.