High Fantasy

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Cover of "The Girl of Fire and Thorns," featuring a large light blue gemstone with a face partially reflected in it
Image from Kaitlin Stainbrook

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Series: Fire and Thorns #1

Author: Rae Carson

Genre: High Fantasy

Back Cover:

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. On her sixteenth birthday, she becomes the wife of the handsome king of a country 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.  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.


The Girl of Fire and Thorns was on my top five most-anticipated books to read this year since I read the first chapter online. But in the back of my head, there was this little lingering doubt that it wouldn’t be as good as I’d expected.

I didn’t have to worry.

I loved Elisa. She was fat, insecure, studious, and pretty darn sure she was a failure. And she always underestimated herself. I loved seeing her overcome her insecurities and surprise herself at what she was capable of.

Alejandro – the king Elisa marries – wasn’t a major character, and I didn’t mind that very much. He was a fine person, but he was a not-so-great king and a somewhat insensitive husband. While I didn’t hate him, I also didn’t like him very much.

I feel like I should mention some more characters, but the only other ones are either minor or would probably make me include some spoilers.

The plot was brilliant.  The synopsis was suitably vague, so I had no real idea of what to expect – and so I was totally surprised when what I thought would be a little detour turned out to be huge and basically launched the main plot. War, danger, secret missions, and everybody believes Elisa can solve their problems. I loved it!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns has some very religious themes – mainly because the Chosen One is chosen by God and has a Godstone jewel in their bellybutton (a little weird, sure, but you get used to it). It has a somewhat Catholic feel, but it also feels like a totally different religion.  That could be because of the magic, though. And I enjoyed learning the little details related to the Godstone and what it means to be a Chosen One.

There’s so much more I want to say about the brilliance of this book, but I’m afraid if I say too much more, I’ll spoil it for you.

I could go on and on, but you probably get the point – I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on The Crown of Embers, the second book in the series – even though I’m not really sure what it’ll be about, since The Girl of Fire and Thorns wrapped up so neatly.

The Fire and Thorns series:

  1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns
  2. The Crown of Embers
  3. The Bitter Kingdom

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