The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Girl of Fire and Thorns Series #1)

( 319 )

Overview

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa has always felt powerless, useless. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—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 save his people. And he looks at her in a way no man has ever looked at...

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Girl of Fire and Thorns Series #1)

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Overview

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa has always felt powerless, useless. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—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 save his people. And he looks at her in a way no man has ever looked at her before. 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.

A 2012 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist

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Editorial Reviews

Tamora Pierce
“Elisa is a wonderful, believable hero, the kind that every reader can imagine as herself. I charged through the book in two days, savoring Elisa’s realness and her unique, wonderful world! Engrossing.”
Locus
“With The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Carson joins the ranks of writers like Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner, and Tamora Pierce as one of YA’s best writers of high fantasy.”
Sarah Prineas
“Distinctive for its luminous prose, its hint of romance, and Elisa, a strong, smart heroine that readers will truly fall in love with.”
Megan Whalen Turner
“Rae Carson’s heroine is a perfect blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary. I loved her.”
Cinda Williams Chima
“I LOVED this book! It’s a transformation story that both teens and adults can believe in. Rae Carson has delivered a unique magical system and built a world with strong series potential.”
Veronica Roth
“I stayed up until 2AM reading this last night. Intense, unique. . . . Definitely recommended.”
Leah Cypess
“Set in intrigue-filled courts, battlefields, and windswept deserts, this riveting fantasy tests its heroine’s limits as she struggles to fulfill a destiny wrapped in an ancient mystery. A breathtaking adventure in a fascinating, richly-drawn world.”
Paolo Bacigalupi
“A delicious debut.”
Publishers Weekly
Carson debuts with a smart, complex fantasy with stellar characters, first in a planned trilogy. Even though she bears the mysterious and rare Godstone, 16-year-old Princess Elisa has been a disappointment to her family and country. Plain, overweight, and unmotivated, she is content to wed a handsome neighboring king to cement an alliance. After an arduous journey to her new home, Elisa arrives to find that her husband wants to keep their status hidden. But there are more pressing concerns—the enemy is preparing to invade, and Elisa is kidnapped. As she is thrust into a fight for survival on the borders of her new kingdom, Elisa is hunted by dark magicians and must piece together clues to fulfill her divine decree. Elisa is a sensational heroine, striving to fulfill her potential under perilous circumstances, while realistically growing in resourcefulness, inner strength, and intelligence. The odd nature of the Godstone (which is embedded in Elisa's stomach) may occasionally pull some readers out of the story, but Carson's mature writing style, thoughtful storytelling, appealing characters, and surprising twists add up to a page-turner with broad appeal. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Susan Allen
Many fantasy books have a strong female character, but this fantasy differs in that the heroine is a young, much-indulged fat girl. The opening lines are, "I have been praying—no begging—that King Alejandro de Vega, my future husband, will be ugly, old and fat." Elise thinks then he will not be disappointed in her. After popping the seams of her wedding dress, Elise is married, and her character transformation begins. Besides being a princess, Elisa has been selected by her God for service, what service she does not know. Others think they know—her husband's country is on the brink of war, and he wants her help; holders of dark magic are seeking her; and a determined revolutionary thinks she can save his people. Through the adventures, including being kidnapped and caught in a massive sandstorm, Elisa digs deep to find determination and the ability to lead. The fantasy world created is intoxicating. Names, food, architecture, language, beliefs and culture are all shown to the reader, not merely described. Readers will find themselves immersed in this world and believing it. This an action-packed adventure with a little romance that leaves the reader wanting to begin the second book in the planned trilogy. This one will move. Reviewer: Susan Allen
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This compelling first book in a medieval fantasy trilogy features Elisa, a 16-year-old princess, as she grows from an inexperienced girl who is forced to marry a weak king for political reasons into a confident and capable young woman, destined to be a respected leader in her own right. Shortly after her birth, Elisa received a magical Godstone in her navel, a sign bestowed every 100 years on a chosen one. Despite this, she feels inadequate when compared to her older, more beautiful sister so she eats to compensate for it. She's also very clever, particularly in the strategies of war, but all that most people see is her ample size. The only person who respects her is young Lord Hector, her husband's personal guard. Shortly after her wedding, she's kidnapped and forced to endure an arduous journey through the desert that toughens her. One of her kidnappers is a young man who falls for her and she for him. His people hope that she, as the Godstone bearer, can save them from their constant war against a neighboring enemy. This fast-moving and exciting novel is rife with political conspiracies and machinations. Elisa's maturation and physical transformation echo Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Princess Ben (Houghton Harcourt, 2008). Fans of Tamora Pierce's "Beka Cooper" series (Random) will find a kindred spirit in Elisa as she experiences great adversity and heart-wrenching loss.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
Kirkus Reviews

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa's "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062026507
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Series: Girl of Fire and Thorns Series , #1
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 56,442
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Rae Carson

Rae Carson's books tend to contain lots of adventure, magic, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. She is the author of the acclaimed New York Times best-selling Girl of Fire and Thorns series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, and The Bitter Kingdom. She especially loves to write about questions she doesn't know the answers to. Rae Carson is originally from California but now lives in Ohio with her husband and two teenaged stepsons.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 319 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(158)

4 Star

(93)

3 Star

(39)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(17)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 319 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Very interesting and entertaining. Very good book. finished it v

    Very interesting and entertaining. Very good book. finished it very quickly

    30 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't connect but worth a read.

    The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a unique book of secrets, courage, and betrayals. Elisa is a sixteen year old girl who needs to embrace her destiny if she wishes to help the people around her and even more survive.

    On her sixteenth birthday Princess Elisa is set to be married to the gorgeous King Alejandro. What she doesn't know is that it is for her own safety as well as an aid to Alejandro's kingdom. See, Elisa is the "chosen one". She bears the Godstone, and only one is chosen every century. She doesn't know love or strength yet, but she must rise above herself in order to protect those close to her and reach her destiny.

    I have to admit, unfortunately, I could not get into this one. At first, I honestly was going to stop and add it to the list of "could not finish", but for some reason I kept reading. And, I'm actually glad I did. From part 2 on... the story did pick up for me. Elisa learns who she needs to be and you can see her mature throughout the story. Also from part 2 on, I started to enjoyed the characters we met much more. And I honestly felt extremely bad for Elisa towards the end... it seemed that every time she was ready to love, it was ripped away from her.

    Just because I could not get into it, doesn't mean anything though. I am just one opinion in hundreds maybe thousands! There are still good things I saw about the book. I saw a main character grow into herself. I saw a strong girl deal with love and loss. The book is also extremely unique and writing is very well done. I am only one person expressing my opinion, so if you are interested in the book, pick it up and try it out for yourself! Unfortunately, it was just not for me. =/

    21 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    A Must Read!

    If you enjoy Tamora Pierce's books, then I highly recommend The Girl of Fire and Thorns! Great story, great characters, and great writing.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    A Novel Every Young Woman Should Read!

    THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is an outstanding debut novel from Rae Carson. It combines every element that makes a fantasy novel fun to read (humor, page-turning adventure, magic, romance, an epic journey, and tons of suspense) with completely original elements that make the reader fall in love with both the novel and its protagonist, Elisa. Elisa is a very unlikely hero who has been chosen for greatness. The character development is outstanding as Elisa learns to embrace who she is while conquering her personal struggles in order to save a country that isn't even her own. The book is full of unexpected plot twists, political intrigue, religious exploration and critique, fabulous world building, and themes pertinent to every young woman today. This is one of the best written novels I have ever read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    most interesting heroine

    I've read a lot of teen fantasy but I have NEVER read something where the main character is overweight or unattractive. I thought this was a really new and interesting twist that first drew me to the book. Elisa is a really great main character and all her flaws and insecurities make her more realistic than most.
    The story was also fantastic and pulled me in, the only complaint I have is the ending. Without giving anything away, the ending seemed really rushed, like hundreds of pages go into building what should have been something much more epic or exciting. Elisa discovers she's on the verge of some great mystery and three pages later it's solved. Anticlimactic in my opinion, but still a great book and I definitely recommend reading it!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    The perfect fantasy.

    Complex world in the allegorical style of Narnia, inspiring and relatable heroine, gorgeous prose and economy of words, a secondary cast that become like dear friends, and truly creepy but sympathetic villains. What more do you want?

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Pretty good read

    I think I give this book about a 3.5 rating. I liked it, but didn't love it.
    The best part about this book is that it is a story about a young girl who calls herself fat and useless at the beginning of the story, and during everything that happens to her she proves to herself her true worth. I enjoyed the different kingdoms and tribes of people described. I really liked some of the characters.
    What I didn't like is the romance parts of the book - they were just bland and lacking. I just didn't believe the feelings were there. Maybe that is because of the writing style that was more tell and not enough show. There was also too much description of the travel (basically: "we're walking, we're walking, we're still walking" - this is how I feel about a lot of fantasy novels lately though).
    The religious aspects of the book were creative but I think were too much at times.
    All in all I felt there could have been more feelings and more plot development but that this story is a good read and is an interesting fresh type of story I haven't read before.

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mixed Feelings

    I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this book. But let's start with the good: I really liked the main character, Elisa; she was someone almost every girl could relate to, and at the end, maybe even strive to be like. Also, I liked how she grew throughout the novel. There was a big difference between the Elisa in the beginning and the Elisa in the end. The author was very subtle about it. Elisa didn't all of the sudden just change, it took time.

    All the character's, except maybe Alejandro, had their own distinct personality. And the world the author creates is lush and vivid. There was a ton of action and adventure and a bit of romance. I wish I could leave the review at that and say I absolutely loved it but, alas, I cannot.

    So, the bad: to be honest, there was really only one HUGE thing that made this not a five star read for me. It was the ending. I'm a happy ending kind of girl, and although I know this book is a part of a series so this isn't how it really ends, I just couldn't believe the author ended this book like that! There were many reasons it wasn't exactly a happy ending but for me there was one big reason it wasn't and if you read the book you'll figure it out. As a reader, I wasn't satisfied; I'm actually a bit pissed off.

    Overall, I have to say that the book was pretty great. If I wasn't such a happy ending girl I probably would have rated it five stars. I'm not sure if I'll read the next book in the series but I do recommend this book to people, it was very engrossing.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Unimpressed!!

    I bought this book thinking it would be an interesting read. In theory the story could have been good; however, the execution was not there. It was much too religious and bland. I struggled to finish. There was no expansion or growth of the main characters and they were quite boring. This book was definitely not worth my money and I do not plan on following this series.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Should have been a children's book

    The plot of this book had high potential. After reading the reviews, I thought this would be a unique book that would be engaging and entertaining. Apparently all of the people who left good reviews on this book were twelve years old (most of the reviews had terrible spelling) and thought that this book was something worth praising. I found the main character to be whiny and boring. She was a 'flat' character with no personality. She did not grow or mature in any way through out the book. The quality of writing in this book was terrible. The words and style used were obvious and simple, which in a book is not something most readers want. I would say the age group for this book would be 10-13 at most.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Admits Defeat

    I will admit that this book was great. Worth your money. Has a good mixture of action, romance, tragedy, and personal growth. Recommend to young adults.
    But of course there's still room for improvement on the author's part. Yes it had brilliant words strung together and many morals inclined, but it lacked partial feeling when it came to Elisa's love toward everyone around her.
    Still, I am going to follow this author and her future novels to see what else she can bring to the table.
    Worth a good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    Loved it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Love it

    This book is amazing i couldn't stop reading. I highly recommend

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging and well-written...worth a pre-order!

    The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a truly fabulous coming-of-age story. Elisa is married off to a foreigner on her sixteenth birthday, whisked off to a new land, and then hidden away as a secret. She can't reveal her Godstone and she can't reveal her marriage. Not the best start to a whole new life! She feels even more alone and worthless than she did in her home. What she doesn't realize is why it is so important to hide...and what could happen when her secrets are uncovered.

    Elisa was such a dynamic character and I absolutely fell in love with her. At the beginning of the novel, we area introduced to a fifteen-almost-sixteen year old girl who is preparing for her out-of-the-blue wedding. She is clearly uncomfortable in her own skin. She's been chosen for some great act of Service, but she feels like it must have been a mistake. How can she ever be as successful as her beautiful older sister? How could anyone ever fall in love with an overweight, less-than-perfect naive Princess? Her lack of confidence is fed by the secretive nature of her marriage and the multitude of secrets that she is forced to keep when she arrives in her new husband's country. Elisa was such a fabulous character because you literally watch her grown up and come into her own. She is forced to embark on this harrowing journey and along the way she transforms into a strong young woman. She experiences the joy of first love and the pain of death that war brings.

    The world and cast of characters that Rae Carson has presented in this book left me longing for more. The world is phenomenally and intelligently crafted. Carson's descriptions of the landscape gave me a real sense of the world without becoming cumbersome. In addition, her characters were understated but well-developed. We learn about them through Elisa's eyes and in a very "show not tell" way, which I appreciated. When characters were successful, I cheered, and when bad things happened to good people, I got upset (VERY upset in some cases).

    My overall sense about this book is that it is the start to a fabulous trilogy that I cannot wait to devour. I must also applaud Carson for wrapping up this book without any major cliffhangers! The world and characters have a lot of room to grow and develop in future books, but I wasn't left beginning for a conclusion to a completely undeveloped (or suddenly new) plot line.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Very Nice

    While I enjoyed the good storyline and always exciting magic..what I enjoyed the most was the theme...have faith in yourself. Others may doubt you and try to tear you down..but you only fail when you doubt yourself. It is a good message for all. Of course the adventure and romance was great too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2013

    Great Book! I wasn't really excited when I got this book from t

    Great Book!

    I wasn't really excited when I got this book from the library, but but the end I was laughing, crying, and cheering for Elisa. 

    The thing that surprised me the most about this book was how religious it was. I don't know if that was what the author intended, but I thought it was really inspirational how Elisa looked to God to get her out of scrapes. But if that's not what you're into, don't let it stop you from getting this book. 

    Elisa is a very relatable main character, and it was cool to watch her journey. I didn't think this book was perfect (having a magical belly button?) but I really liked. Definitely one of the best books i've read in a while.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    !

    Why do posters ruin the books for others by revealing plot points? We dont care that u received the book for free from author, publisher, bookstore or grandma moses. Just stop ruining the story for others. It is rude and inconsiderate. Do you stand at the movie theatre door and tell everyone the entire movie including the ending? Learn to review and stop revesling every detail of the book. You dont have to do that.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Loved

    I loved this book! The girl has spunk!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    CookieIII

    Help! I need a good book!!! I'm not looking for romance, im looking for something to lighten up my summer a bit. Dystopia is my favorite. Tell me a book!

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    Well, I should start off by saying that I could NOT stop reading

    Well, I should start off by saying that I could NOT stop reading this book. Literally. I started it LAST NIGHT, stayed up until 1:30 AM and then opened my eyes before 9 to keep reading it. I just had to know what happened. I do enjoy guessing what is going to happen as I read, and sadly with most books I’m hardly ever actually surprised. Not here! I was convinced the book was going to end with some kind of sappy, love-triangle ending as a lot of books seem to these days, but I was wrong. It was very refreshing.

    The characters here were no great shakes, except for the main character Elisa. Talk about refreshing. She starts off as a fat, pampered, ignorant child–but not spoiled. She becomes pretty kick butt by the end, but she takes a journey to get there that is believable. Few authors dare to do this these days, and the ones who do rarely do it well. I felt like I could sit down and chat with Elisa, because she was just so REAL.

    Granted, Elisa and the book did fall into one YA cliché that makes me sigh. So often in YA books these days, there is no visible growth when the main character falls in love. It is just instant love at first sight, BAM. Does it make the book move along, sure. But it’s fairly ridiculous and it annoys me when it happens. At least here, Carson makes an obvious attempt to discern why Elisa feels the way she, and there isn’t an instant lovey-dovey scene anywhere. Still a little too quick for my taste (and a little too quick for a certain event near the end of the book to have the impact it ought to) but better done then I’ve seen lately.

    The world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns was also great. In places – especially in the beginning – I felt like I wasn’t getting enough information to form a clear picture with, but enough information came out as the book went on for me to grasp generalities. The book was clearly setting up for a sequel, so it’s entirely possible the world wasn’t completely explained for just that purpose. Either way, it worked out well enough. The book flowed quickly and easily.

    I read ridiculously fast first time through, and sometimes after that I won’t reread a book, but I certainly want to revisit this one! Overall, I would certainly recommend this book to fans of fantasy YA fiction. It’s different, it’s believable and it’s interesting. Four and a half stars from me!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 319 Customer Reviews

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