Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

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. She 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 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 Goodreads.com)

BEWARE SPOILERS

This book left me feeling disappointed and reluctant to read the second book. I wasn't super fond of the main character or story in general. I generally like stronger characters but Elisa started off as weak and fat which is fine. I figured I'd give it a chance as I like to see characters grow. It's refreshing to see a weak character grow, however, while she did grow into a more confident young woman I can't help but feel that she could have done more in certain situations. It was appalling for me to see her just stand there and be useless having others sacrifice and do things for her even if she is a princess and the Godstone bearer. It seems like she didn't even try sometimes and when she did all she did was pray. I don't mind her prayers but very few times it seemed helpful.

I do like how she was a leader but that's only because she was a princess and bore the Godstone. Everyone else seemed to adore/worship/hate her because of it. She needed so much help from other people when she should have been well educated far beyond the others. I do give her credit a couple of times she's willing to sacrifice herself for her friends but it wasn't cleverly planned out. I found it ridiculous that Elisa's father and sister never showed up again. Especially towards the end when she was coronated as queen. I do like how her enemy, Cosme became a friend. I have a bit in common with Cosme in terms of personality and that Elisa was willing to set aside differences and both became friends. It was good to see her become more strong-willed and not let anyone stop her anymore. Her patience and understanding of Prince Rosario was touching as she knew what it was like when she was a young royal. It was nice to see her play a motherly role to him even if she is only 16.



I was confused about the location, I believe it's fantasy with Spanish influences. Not a bad thing but I think the location could have been established more clearly. The author just dove in talking about how Elisa wish her future husband would have a flaw which he did. Oh he did. He's superficial, lazy, indecisive, and a poor father. Unfortunately it was all personality flaws instead of his physical flaws. I would assume while he is handsome some of his awful personality would reflect that but instead, he's the most beautiful man Elisa has ever seen. They never established his age, so I was thinking late 20s, early 30s?

I couldn't help but feel there were a few pacing and grammar problems in the story. The story spanned several months, perhaps even almost a year. A couple of times I wasn't sure if a character had stayed or gone in a scene. It was a bit irritating having to go back to determine the course of action. Also Elisa is a larger girl, which I understand, it just seemed silly that she lost weight only to have everything work out for her later when she was skinny. I suppose this helped her gain more confidence and friends but it's a bit silly to overcome her securities that way. I do agree with many other reviewers that stated the author did more telling than showing the reader. I did get bored at times with the story telling and towards the end just skimmed to the important parts.

I wasn't attached to many of the characters, perhaps Humberto the most and the author ends up killing him off as Elisa watches. It pissed me off that Elisa didn't do anything to prevent it. They should have been smarter but they all traveled together into enemy territory instead of splitting up in case their plans backfired. There were many flaws in this story and I really did want to like it but it hardly lived up to my expectations. I did finish it to the end but the main reason I kept pushing myself to the end was because I hoped that the characters would be redeemed and that the author is from the same state as me.

There wasn't much of a cliffhanger at the end but I know the story continues. The weakness in the story seemed to outshine the good in this book for me. I doubt I'll read the second book any time soon with so many other books TBR. If I'm bored with nothing else to read I suppose I'd pick this back up but there are so many other books that may interest me better than this.

2.5 out of 5 rating for me.



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