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.