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The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Written by Rae Carson

Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda


The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Written by Rae Carson

Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda

ratings:
4/5 (169 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 24, 2012
ISBN:
9780062221834
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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, and can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her 16th birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king — a king whose country is in turmoil. 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 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.

A HarperAudio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 24, 2012
ISBN:
9780062221834
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Rae Carson was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for Fall 2011. Her first novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, was a finalist for the Morris, Cybils, and Andre Norton Awards, and was named to ALA's Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list. The sequel, The Crown of Embers, was released in September 2012. Rae lives in Ohio with her husband, novelist C.C. Finlay, two stepsons, and two very naughty kitties.


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What people think about The Girl of Fire and Thorns

4.1
169 ratings / 118 Reviews
What did you think?
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    The premise: ganked from publisher's website: 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, and 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 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 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.My Rating: Couldn't Put It DownThe Girl of Fire and Thorns came THISCLOSE to getting my top rating of "My Precious," but because I kept debating it, I decided that was reason enough to make it my second best rating (which is still damn awesome), because my top rating should not be any books I debate about. Still, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a marvelous book that is rich with themes and important issues, yet is also an utterly enjoyable epic fantasy with an utterly capable heroine (weight doesn't matter!). People talk about wanting to have coffee with certain characters, and I'll just say, I'd totally hang out with Elisa. I loved her, and this book is one of the many reasons I postpone my Top Ten list because it snuck in under the 2011 deadline, and my reading year is all the richer for it. It's a book that has an unusual heroine and twists a lot of the genre's expectations for plot, which excited me greatly. It's also one of those that makes me forget I'm reading a YA novel, because the age of the characters is rather irrelevant in light of the story. It's a fantastic read, and I can't recommend it enough. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the trilogy! Oh! And if you like Megan Whalen Turner? Pearl North? You'll like this.Spoilers, yay or nay?: Oh, yay. I'm sorry, but so much happens in this book that I can't resist talking about it! If you haven't read it, but want to, do yourself a favor and DO NOT read the full review, which is at my blog, which is linked below. Everyone else, comments and discussion are always welcome. REVIEW: Rae Carson's THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNSHappy Reading!
  • (4/5)
    I must congratulate the author on a great debut novel. "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" has a lovely mix of fantasy and adventure, and had me hooked from the first page to the last. Elisa is a refreshing protagonist. When the reader first meets her she is an overweight, insecure young girl who lives in the shadow of her older sister. Gradually, however, Elisa develops into a brave warrior and strong leader. Elisa is supported by a range of interesting secondary characters and the obligatory romance has an interesting twist. Can't wait to read the sequel.
  • (3/5)
    I will say I got caught up in the story. I found it compelling and wanted to know what would happen next. I also liked seeing Elisa grow into herself and become courageous and strong.But I wasn't really into the praying/religious stuff, the fat-shaming (because it's easy to lose weight; all you have to do is walk across a desert), and - while I agree the people she ended up with were worthy of empowerment and independence - it was a little too Stockholm syndrome for me.I think this would be a good book for teens (although I don't think the messages about food and weight are good for teens), but it was a bit young for me.
  • (3/5)
    3 .5 longer review to come soon
  • (2/5)
    This book really frustrated me. It had some great nuggets of potential but the way the concept of fatness is addressed is not good. I really wanted to like it more.
  • (4/5)
    This book was pretty great. The main character was flawed, cared much too much about outer beauty but all in all grew as a person and it was a pleasure to read about it. The story was fast paced and never boring. In the first few chapters I wasn't sure if I was going to like the book but the action and storyline kept me interested. Great read :)
  • (4/5)
    Elisha is not your typical heroine, but I like her more for it. She deals with uncomfortable feelings by eating, feels overshadowed by her accomplished sister, and prefers to fade into the background. The novel starts with her precipitous marriage to the neighboring king who is a young widower. Suddenly she is thrust into a new culture and onto the front lines of a coming war. She discovers hidden depths of personal strength and capability. It's a rewarding read.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this story, Elisa has come into her own. I wasn't sure where the author was going with this character in the first hundred or so pages. But in the end, I think she nailed it. I'm very excited to start reading book two; I only hope it doesn't let up. If you like Game of Thrones, I think you will love this story. 4.5 Stars if I had a choice.
  • (3/5)
    How you feel about this book relies heavily on how you feel about its main character. Which is neither a good thing nor a bad one, but I guess I was one of the few people who felt solidly neutral toward Elisa during the entire thing. She was shy and sheltered in the beginning, and then by the end her best trait is that she is loyal and incredibly empathetic - which is wonderful, to be sure, but for whatever reason, that was not enough to get me to really connect with her. There was nothing that really stood out about her, nothing that made me sit up and take notice. Amost every heroine in every book ever is loyal and empathetic. So this book became one of those books where you feel like you're watching everything happen from far, far away and you think, oh, that's interesting, I wonder what'll happen? But there is no burning desire to crawl closer to the scene and know.

    I did appreciate, at points, the gravity and seriousness that the author sets up the world and its problems. The problems, and the way they affect the characters, are incredibly realistic. I'm not sure if we really needed to see QUITE that much roaming around in the desert, but overall the writing style kept things moving. I alway love engaging takes on religion, so that caught and really is the reason my attention held for most of the book. I just wish it wasn't always SO serious. I would have really enjoyed a lot more humor and wit between the characters to help pass some of that time in the desert. But then...Elsa is just not a witty character.

    So, if you're looking for something somewhat engaging and serious, this is a great book! If you want a little more...balance in terms of humor and tension, I'd look elsewhere.
  • (5/5)
    I loved the characters and the strength of each. I also enjoyed the happy ending. A lot of books these days don’t end with a happy ending. This trilogy should be a movie set!
  • (4/5)
    This one was different. It was refreshing that the Love interests in this book were more realistic and that the focus of the story telling was on the heroine’s personal growth.
  • (5/5)
    Loveeeeee it!! Like people please read it is amazing I swear you won't be disappointed
  • (5/5)
    Wow! Just wow. There's relatability, outstanding character development on par with any of the classical authors, girls are allowed to be both feminine and strong, men are permitted to be both masculine and gentle (without being effeminate). In spite of all of its realistic representation of human nature and the dark situations faced, the story is also very idealistic and hopeful. It is romantic without being explicit, passionate yet still respectful. It presents one of the fairest and most honest representative comparisons of a personal relationship with God vs. religion that I have read anywhere, including in Christian fiction. That's the thing. This book IS NOT Christian fiction although it is very similar to an allegory. It is not preachy. But it is not apologetic about its beliefs which are very important to the story. A very well balanced book - I can't wait to read the rest of the series!!!
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Carson's writing style and general theme is extremely engaging, despite the fact that the plot occasionally bogs down and that there's a fat girl who becomes more slender before valuing herself (hence 4 not 5 stars). The overall 'vibe' of the book is reflective of Sharon Shinn's 'Samaria' series, a total win, in my opinion. The protagonist, Elisa, is a splendid character and Carson develops this persona exceedingly well (although I did hesitate over the metamorphosis of overeating). I have yet to understand why the delightful Humberto has to die, unless there's a strong reason in the sequel. Cosmé is an excellent foil for Elisa ~ I hope she reappears in the sequel.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Although not as good as some YA Fantasy of this ilk, like by Cashore, I found this enjoyable. I specifically liked a heroine who was not thin/athletic but still able to use her intellect and strategy to overcome. There were few surprises in the end but again, this was a fast, enjoyable read.
  • (4/5)
    Elsa is the chosen one.But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and 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 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 things 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 hart that is at stake.Elisa could be everything to those people who need her most. If the prophesy is fulfilled. If she finds the power within herself. If she doesn't die young.Most of the chosen do.My thoughts:When I first read reviews for this book, prior to picking it up to read myself, I was turned off by several who mentioned that the author uses the trials of the desert as a way for Elisa to lose weight. For a long time that kept me from reading this book until finally I picked it up because my mind kept wandering toward's its story. After reading the whole book I would have to respectfully disagree with the other reviewers who found the desert sequence and Elisa's resultant loss of weight repugnant.Readers will find it difficult to not sympathize with Elisa. She is fat, and she knows it. She eats when she is nervous and unhappy. These are things that most people can empathize with. All her life she has been told that she is chosen but no one, not even herself, has ever expected her to do anything. On her 16th birthday she is suddenly thrown into a world at chaos, with only her faithful nurse to guide her. She changes, she grows. She remarks upon it herself, thinking of how flippant she is on several occasions. In the much debated desert sequence food is scarce, sure. But the author does not emphasize this aspect of the journey. Elisa walks, she exercises in other ways. She grows to know more about who she is and what she is capable of, even if its just exercise. In the beginning of the story she remarked on how her sister was the athletic one, not her. It sort of sounded as if she'd set out to be the opposite of everything her sister was and now, in the desert, she discovered she can be more too.I found this book to be a great story of a girl growing into who she is, growing into the woman she needs to be. So many things happen to her towards the end of the book that if you imagine the girl we met at the beginning of the book facing these things we would find her hiding in the kitchen scarfing down pastries rather than plotting the defense of a city against invaders and solving a religious puzzle that leads to the salvation of an entire country. I look forward to reading the remaining two books in this series and discovering, along with Elisa, just how many ways a person can grow.I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fairy tales and often wondered if being the heroine was all it seemed to be. This book definitely shows the difficult, gritty side of being a hero.
  • (5/5)
    I LOVED this book! It is such a compelling story, with a great protagonist that you can really get behind and yes, she makes some mistakes, but perfect protagonists are always really boring. I was looking for a strong female lead character, and while it takes Elisa a bit to get there, once she does, she's a great lead. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    I wanted to read The Girl of Fire and Thorns because I had read so many good reviews about it. I avoided it at first because it sounded like the fantasy might be rooted pretty firmly in the political aspect and that is something that is often over my head in high fantasy. But I read several who are like me and still adored it, so decided to give it a go. I liked Elisa immediately. The story starts on her 16th birthday and she is about to marry a king who she has never met. She tries to convince herself that he will be ugly, both to calm her nerves and to make herself dread it just a little bit less. That is a sense of her voice and narration, and it suited me well. I also liked that she was close with her ladies/servants. They mean more to her than just advice, or help getting ready, they are like another part of her family, ones that she trusts and confides in, who both try to make her see just how special she is. The king Alejandro isn't bad, but I did balk at him keeping the marriage a secret once he gets back home. Given, they are attacked while traveling back to his kingdom. But still. I did appreciate that he didn't force intimacy and that he levels with her when she asks what he wants from her and he says a friend. Elisa gets stronger, and realizes more about herself as the book progresses. She works with the religious leader to learn about the origins of her Godstone and prophecies. She is getting mixed in the politics, and trying to represent her home country and brings her expertise from studying war and religion texts in depth. There was a set of characters that really surprised me. They were set up as the bad guys for a while, but the more time she spent with them, she learned about their beliefs and their motivations, and couldn't help but sympathize. Trust and respect was built between her and them, and really set some things in motion for the ending and into the next book. One of them died though, and it really threw me because I wasn't expecting it, and thought that it might have set up as more of a love triangle. I def will be continuing with this series and am glad I gave it a try. Bottom Line: Unlikely heroine and great cast of secondary characters.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoy the occasional detour from urban fantasy into the realm of what I think goes by the term "high fantasy," but the main distinction is that the story is set in an imaginary world rather than the world we currently live in.

    So from that perspective, I enjoyed this story, as it gave me a tour of a new place and introduced me to new kinds of characters. The idea of a "Godstone" was interesting, as was the gradually unfolding mystery about what these stones really mean.

    I also always enjoy reading stories told from the POV of strong women, and Elisa certainly has her strengths (which include her conflicting desires and wavering faith, as well as her political insights). At first I was hoping that Elisa might turn out to be a "plus sized" woman who can still kick ass, but alas, it was not to be, and everyone's reaction to the slimmer Elisa were boringly predictable.

    Now that it's been a few days since I finished listening, I'd also say that the story dragged on too long in places, which is making me somewhat hesitant to start the next book in the series. But the popularity of this series will likely draw me in.
  • (4/5)
    The fast paged plot kept me turning the pages-I stayed up past bedtime to finish the entire novel in one sitting. I liked that the protagonist wasn't perfect and struggles with weight and family issues on top of her enemies. However, her love relationships were not fully fleshed out (in my opinion) and all ended rather conveniently in death. (She never has to really figure out her feelings.) I also had some issues with the Godstones-it is never explained how certain individuals ended up with old ones. Still, I'd read the sequel!
  • (5/5)
    Wow. WOW.

    I'm completely unable to put together a coherent thought, let alone a coherent review. I may attempt it later, when my brain recovers.
  • (3/5)
    I liked this book alright.. it was definitely interesting. But I felt that it was hard to follow at times, like there were too many characters, and new words, and phrases I was unfamiliar with. I was slightly disappointed about the love interest(s) as well. With that being said, it was exciting and inspiring! I started on the next book already :D
  • (4/5)
    An interesting YA novel dealing with issues of duty, fate, kismet, and faith. I was actually surprised that this was a YA book--not that it detracted from the story in any way, but there were several intense scenes (including a horrific death). I enjoyed the deeper issues here, especially the heroine's questions of her god given duty: what is it, what must she sacrifice to achieve it, and is she capable of giving her all? I felt like the ending solution was a bit rushed, but overall a very strong debut (as a side note, I also LOVED that the 'romance' wasn't forced down the reader's throat, and dealt with realistic issues like one-sided attraction, fickle attraction which changes over time based on physical changes, etc).
  • (3/5)
    I once read a quote that said something along the lines of "I don't expect an author to make me happy, only to take me to new worlds." This book most definitely took me to new worlds, though I can't say it made me happy, because it was a sad book overall. The writing was very good, though I wasn't overly fond of the main character. The pace was a little slow for my taste, but she did a beautiful job of description and scene setting.

    The quote on the front of the book says it's "engrossing" and I have to agree with that. It is. It just wasn't the kind of book that made my heart sing, that had me really rooting for the characters, and fully invested in the outcome.
  • (3/5)
    Elisa is the younger of two princesses in a fantasy kingdom called Oravalle, surrounded by other kingdoms embroiled in war and intrigue. Most importantly, she carries a "Godstone", impressed on her abdomen, one of the "chosen ones" to serve her people in some way. But Elisa, while dedicated to her religious studies, still does not know what her task must be. But this sixteen year old must also take her place as the new queen of a neighboring kingdom's young king; even before their journey is completed they are attacked and Elisa must fight her way out of certain death. The uncertain young queen finds she must navigate the difficult waters of palace alliances, her king's impending crisis as two armies begin to move towards his lands-Joya d'Arena- and her own doubts about being a queen to her new people. Suddenly, Elise is captured by a group of king Alejandro's desert subjects - a small group who want to fight the encroaching army, especially since they're already infiltrating and killing many in their villages. Elisa is thrust in yet another foreign environment, but determined to live, adjusts to the desert and trekking alongside her captors, slowly realizing, and empathizing with their true plight. Her godstone also begins to guide her more clearly, even while she discovers she's falling for one of the desert leaders, Humberto. While the opening section felt a bit slow, the plot pick ups steam by part II (the desert abduction and Elisa's eventual acceptance of her role as a leader with the desert villagers). Elisa's voice at the start of the novel is hesitant, insecure, definitely a reluctant courtesan in a complex world of kingdoms in some place/time of the past, (I thought Spanish because of many of the proper name choices, the religious ceremonies, etc). But it's also fantasy fiction: key magical elements (godstones, the religion which honors these special ones, and even sorcerers with evil powers) provide Elisa with beyond her years wisdom and truly threatening enemies. This is a y.a. fantasy fiction which will definitely appeal to girls: Elisa struggles with many of the challenges teen girls face, but also becomes a determined, brave leader in the fight against the invading armies of Invierne, all while discovering first love and loss.
  • (4/5)
    Elisa is special - she is the bearer of the godstone and destined to perform a great act of service. What the act will be, she does not know. Her father marries her off to Alejandro, the king of a neighboring kingdom, with the promise of troops and support to defend Alejandro's lands. Elisa, who describes herself as fat, thinks she wants him to love her but is afraid he won't look past her appearance. It doesn't help matters when Alejandro states he wants to keep their marriage a secret for now and she discovers he has a mistress. When a servant discovers her godstone, she is kidnapped and taken to a desert land in the hopes that she'll be their savior. She also begins to discover some secrets about the godstone and her role that were kept from her.
  • (3/5)
    I loved the beginning of this book. I loved the Mediterranean-flavored setting, and the fact that Elisa was not a typical fantasy protagonist, and the attention given to war-time politics and strategy, and the fact that the arranged marriage had a chance to develop into a loving and respectful relationship. Unfortunately, most of this started falling apart at about the mid-way point of the book. Elisa sheds a few pounds and suddenly becomes a typical knife-wielding YA action heroine who doesn't think twice about betraying her husband and king. Rather than being developed as possibly the most intriguing character in the book, Alejandro is left woefully underdeveloped and then given a cop-out of a death scene--a hasty, clumsy attempt at redemption. Other characters, too, head in predictable and disappointing directions after the excellent beginning. And, while I thought the religious aspect was mostly well-done and intriguing, it all seems negated by the end of the novel, when Elisa makes the frustratingly trite realization that it's not about faith in God but in herself. A unique, thoughtful exploration of religious devotion ultimately gives way to cheap and cliched find-your-own-inner-strength sentiment. Disappointing. I think Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series does a much better job handling religion.

    I'll read the second book, because by all accounts it's better and because I do care to see what happens to Hector certain characters. Here's hoping The Crown of Embers can redeem the story out of cliche and convention.
  • (2/5)
    i had to stop reading this book. it could not keep my interest. maybe after i tackle my huge reading list i will go back and revisit. but i made it half way through and was not impresses
  • (3/5)
    Pros:
    * fun heroine
    * made me think of Spanish royalty
    * interesting concept

    Cons:
    * could not get the image of a troll doll out of my head
    * started with a bang, ended with a whimper

    On one hand, I really want to laud Rae Carson for not insisting her YA novel be a trilogy. However, I really feel like each part could have been fleshed out to be a stand alone novel. There were several interesting characters whose background was rushed through to advance the story, but could have unfolded at a more natural pace with additional pages.
  • (4/5)
    This is a good Ya book, much to my surprise as the first chapter left be with a little doubt on if I would like the main character or not. I think things turned around for her after she was kidnapped.

    It was an interesting look at destiny and I liked how the main character just needed to grow up. I am a bit confused on why the author keeps killing off the male characters though. (That isn't fair in the least)