TITLE: The Girl Of Fire And Thorns
SERIES: Fire & Thorns #1
AUTHOR: Rae Carson
PUBLICATION DATE: September 20, 2011
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 423 pages
RATING: 2 stars
****CONTAINS SPOILERS AND GENERAL RANTINESS****
Elisa has known her entire life that she was chosen for greatness. On the day of her naming ceremony, God’s light shined on her and she was blessed with the Godstone in her navel. She thinks Mr Almighty has made a grave error because she doesn’t see any qualities in herself that would help fulfill such an important destiny. Then she is married off to a Prince of a country far away in secret and from there, her journey just gets more complicated and we’ll see if she can rise to the challenge of fulfilling her destiny.
I have so many issues with this, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with Elisa herself. I went back and forth on whether not I despised her. First she was fat, lazy, and annoying. The fat bit I kind of liked. It was great to finally have a heroine who wasn’t a fucking stick figure despite eating her body weight in junk food, but she spends so much time complaining about it and never trying to do anything about it, always drowning her sorrows in yet another pastry. Which is, once again, understandable. Who hasn’t had a really bad day and went home to use food to make it better? But it is different when it happens on every single fucking page. What makes it worse is that instead of using this chubby heroine to send out the message to teens that everyone’s body type is different and you should learn to love yourself just as you are instead of conforming to the media’s bullshit image of what a woman should look like, it’s just another whiny YA heroine who loses the weight in order to feel better about herself. And I don’t mean she starts a regiment to get healthy, I mean she is kidnapped and made to walk across a desert so naturally a good bit of the weight falls off and only then does she start to feel better about herself. It was more than a little infuriating. None of the other characters angered me nearly as much. I actually really liked Cosme and Humberto and most of the rebels. And Rosario. I loved him! So petulant and whiny and absolutely adorable in the end.
Another big issue was the healthy dose of religion you get in this. At no point in any of the descriptions or summeries is religion mentioned, but the whole reason Elisa is special is because God chose her and she bears the Godstone. For the first 100 or so pages, you don’t get through a single page without that word being mentioned. After that it slows down a bit, but it is still there. Leaving my views on religion completely out of the picture, it still would have been nice to get a bit of a warning on that. Plus, I don’t like my religion and literature to mix. Call me crazy, but religion is a touchy subject for most people and I prefer my reading material to be as far from that controversy as possible.
Then there is the main big issue, the one that even if I could overlook the previous problems would make it impossible for me to love this novel. ALL THE MOTHERFUCKING DEATH! Now, before I get yelled at, I realize that this is high fantasy and they are in the middle of a war and a certain amount of doom needs to be portrayed. I can deal with that. But what I can’t deal with is the main love interests throat being slashed. Poor Humberto dies right in front of Elisa and I almost stopped reading right on the spot. That made me so fucking mad. There are some other deaths that upset me minimally, but that one had me seeing red. I like happily ever afters goddammit and now, unless they pull some kind of necromancy, that shit isn’t going to happen.
It does get two stars because after you get about midway through, it is impossible to put down. The writing and storyline draws you in until you are desperate to finish it. I do plan on reading the sequel, but I’m more than a little wary of it. Let’s hope it improves some, shall we?