The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
Five Stars for this beautifully written and stunning young adult novel.
“I will look in triumph on my enemies. They will scatter to the ends of the earth, and God’s righteous right hand will endure forever.” The ball of light whirls. My body tingles with power. “I am God’s righteous right hand! And I will. Not. Waver.” The Godstone is all around me now, swirling and beautiful and terrifying. My skin breathes in the energy of the earth, of the air around me, and feeds it to my Godstone.
Princess Elisa is destined for greatness or for a horrifying death. She is the bearer of a Godstone that miraculously appeared in her navel when she was an infant. Few bearers have lived long enough to fulfill their destiny.
Elisa is sixteen when she is married to the young and handsome King Alejandro who rules a country far from her home. She has been protected and indulged her entire life. Secrets have been kept from her. To ease the worry that plagues her, Elisa, from childhood, has used food as comfort. She is a very large young girl, a girl with little confidence as compared to her slender, beautiful older sister. The marriage is a political arrangement.
She travels to the desert country of Joya d’Arena to become its queen, but when she arrives, Alejandro keeps their marriage a secret, offering an excuse pertaining to political issues. His mistress eyes Elisa with narrow, suspicious eyes. In response, Elisa continues to feed her worry with food. She is looked upon by all with scorn for her appetite and girth.
But there is a will of iron beneath her softness and when she is kidnapped a transformation takes place as she learns not only to survive the riggers of the heartbreaking trials before her, but to love the country and its people.
Ultimately, this is a story about belief in faith and in one’s self. Many times, Elisa doubts her ability to fulfill her God given purpose, but her belief sustains her even against seemingly insurmountable odds.
The novel starts of slow but as the story unfolds what Elisa faces engages the reader and holds the reader’s attention. I read late into the night. I had to finish it. The sequels, which I intend to read as soon as possible, continue her fight, not only for her people but for her life.