The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 20th 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

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.

I was going to binge-read this series with Judith, but I got left behind when Judith sped through all three books in a matter of days. I felt betrayed, but what can you do? I went into this one knowing very little about it, just that it was a fantasy book with a kick-ass main character. And people had been talking about someone called Hector. That’s literally all I knew.

As it turns out, The Girl of Fire and Thorns really does have a badass main character. And a random guy called Hector, but I’ll talk about him later. For now, I want to fangirl about Elisa.

Elisa’s character growth was absolutely phenomenal, and I hope it continues to progress throughout this series. Elisa starts off as an innocent princess, spoilt and pudgy, with no idea about how the real world works outside the palace walls. Eventually, after marrying the king of another kingdom, avoiding being killed by various enemies, getting kidnapped, and much more, Elisa turns into a queen. She still has a long way to go, but by the end of The Girl of Fire and Thorns she’s fucking brilliant. She’s right up there with Katniss and Hermione and Rose on my list of top female characters. I adore her.

There’s also a romance, although it’s not between Elisa and Hector. This romance between Elisa and another guy was cute and innocent, much like Elisa’s personality and mindset in the beginning, which worked very well with Elisa’s character at this point in time. I think that’s what relationships should do. They should be what the person needs at that time, and gel with their personality and traits, to work to make the person better or stronger, or just generally move that person along whether it’s in terms of their personality or their mindset or where they are with their life. I’m not usually a fan of cute romances, but this one was really sweet. Carson did a great job of showing the innocence of both parties involved, and having them grow together as they experienced various difficulties.

I was a little confused as to why Elisa wasn’t swooning over Hector, the guy with the moustache, but then I realised that their relationship was going to be some epic slow burn. My favourite! In fact, Hector is in literally about five to eight scenes in this book. He’s not an important part at all. Instead, the focus is all on Elisa and her growth as she journeys from girl to woman. Or princess to queen, if that’s the analogy you wish to use.

Normally I’m very hesitant when it comes to books featuring religion in any way, because in the past I’ve often found them to come across as preachy and putting the religion very much in your face. However, I love the religious element of The Girl of Fire and Thorns! It works very well with the world that Rae Carson has created, and with the characters themselves. Carson does such a great job of blending it in with the very core of this world, that you can’t imagine it without some sort of faith. Elisa’s faith isn’t over the top at all. It’s a huge part of who she is, but it doesn’t overshadow other elements of her character. This is also very true of the religious aspect of the world building. It isn’t OTT or preachy, it just is.

I am very pleased with how much I enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. While it wasn’t a favourite of mine, it was truly beautiful and captivating, with it’s amazing main character whose character growth rivals all others’, and the epic world building that makes you feel as though you’ve only discovered one small piece of this world, and the villains and the cute romance and… I could go on for a long time about this.

If you haven’t read The Girl of Fire and Thorns yet, you definitely should. I’ve already sped through the second book, The Crown of Embers, and am biding my time until I find the perfect moment to start The Bitter Kingdom. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is just the start of an epic fantasy series that I’m sure most of you will adore.

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18 comments on “The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

  1. Siiri 12/04/2014 7:32 pm

    “She’s right up there with Katniss and Hermione and Rose” For real? Ok, I must meet this Elisa like now. Ahhh, and gimme the epic slow burn too! It’s funny how much everyone loves this Hector guy and he isn’t even a main character in this book. Interesting. Oh, so the religion isn’t overwhelming? That’s good to know. Most of my friends adore this series to pieces and I hope you’ll enjoy the sequels even more 🙂 Great review, Amber!

    • Amber 30/04/2014 8:16 pm

      Yes! She’s an amazing MC and she goes through so much growth throughout the first book, and in the second one. Both physically and mentally! Bahaha, I certainly didn’t love Hector in this one, apart from in one scene. He’s not in it enough for me to love him!

  2. Danielle @ Love at First Page 12/04/2014 11:47 pm

    I just finished reading the trilogy, and I think you’ll be very happy with Elisa’s continual growth, and of course her romance with Hector. She continues to be her own person and to fight like hell for her country, but my favorite parts are all the swoony bits (and there is A LOT of swoon, especially in the last book). Have fun reading the rest of the series!

    • Amber 30/04/2014 8:22 pm

      I cannot wait to see what happens with her in the final book of the series! She’s such a badass already. SWOONY BITS. I love the sound of that!

  3. Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews 13/04/2014 11:28 am

    YESSSS, I adored Elisa so much. She’s amazing and I was just in awe of her capabilities.

    The religious aspect was a bit hard to grasp tbh but it was definitely very interesting to follow and see how big of a part of the story it plays.

    Hector plays a huge part in The Crown of Embers so that’s really where he comes in but it was a good introduction for him in this one! Glad you enjoyed the book Amber 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your thoughts for the rest of the series!

    • Amber 30/04/2014 8:23 pm

      HEEEEEEEEEEE. She is AMAZING, I can’t stress it enough!

      I thought Hector’s role in CoE was great, and it didn’t take away from Elisa’s character at all. *Cries*

  4. Sam @ Realm of Fiction 13/04/2014 3:30 pm

    I totally agree about the religious aspect of the world-building. Religion in books can put me off too, but I thought Rae Carson handled it perfectly. And I’m so glad you adored Elisa! She’s a great character. I haven’t actually read the sequel to this yet, but it’s right at the top of my to-do list for the year, and I can’t wait. Brilliant review, Amber! 🙂

    • Amber 30/04/2014 8:27 pm

      Totally agree with you agreeing with me xD Carson did an excellent job. She’s amazing in the sequel as well, trust me!

  5. Jessica @ Rabid Reads 14/04/2014 10:06 am

    “Elisa’s character growth was absolutely phenomenal.”

    True friggin’ story. I’ve seen a bunch of people who DNF-ed this at 5 or 10%, and that just makes me sad. And I LOVE the slow burn between Hector (the guy with the moustache *snorts*) and Elisa. I just love this series. Did you love book 2 even more? As much as I liked this one, book 2 killed it dead. STORM<—–my favorite. Great review! If you loved your recs as much as this one, we might be book mates 😉

    • Amber 30/04/2014 8:41 pm

      Noooo! That *is* sad. They’re missing out on so much. Haha, the slow burn between moustache guy and Elisa is epic. I can’t wait to see what happens between them in the third book. I’m not sure if I preferred book 2 to this one. Both had different feels to them, and I read book 2 over a longer period of time. BUT it was still AMAZING and skhfdsihg. We’re definitely book mates!

  6. Natalie Crown 16/04/2014 10:06 am


    Although…I read all three books in three days so I kinda get it.

    Sooo glad you love Elisa. And HECTOR HECTOR HECTOR.

    • Judith 18/04/2014 1:27 pm

      Amber was just very slow and very distracted by other books IT IS NOT MY FAULT THIS SERIES IS EPIC AND UNPUTDOWNABLE

  7. Judith 18/04/2014 1:26 pm


    “She’s right up there with Katniss and Hermione and Rose on my list of top female characters. I adore her.” sobbing

    Also YES about the romance. I loved it even though it wasn’t my OTP or anything because it fit so perfectly.

    Elisa wasn’t swooning over Hector because he had the mustache we all know it

    And more YES about the religion. I don’t always like religion but it was perfect in this one




    • Amber 30/04/2014 8:45 pm

      There there. KEEP CALM, JUDE, AND CARRY ON. Yesssss, Elisa and thingy weren’t OTP but they were so perfect for each other at that point in their lives. Cute cute cute. The moustache obvs impacted Elisa’s feels for Hector. I’m surprised she didn’t turn around and run away screaming. She’s got guts.

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