Book Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Author: Tilo

Author: Tilo

Anushka Kale

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is the first novel in the debut trilogy by Rae Carson. This novel has won several accolades as well as being a New York Times bestselling book. The Girl of Fire and Thorns has everything a good fantasy novel needs–it was funny, endearing, and sometimes heartbreaking. There were also scheming monarchs, backhanded deals, and war. I would definitely say that this book is in my top favorite book series. 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is about a young, ordinary princess named Elisa from the Kingdom of Orovalle who is to become the secret wife of King Alejandro from Joya d’Arena–despite having never met him. Upon Elisa’s Christening, a blue Godstone was placed in her navel, making her “The Chosen One” of the century. Being the younger sister of the much smarter, more beautiful crown princess Alodia, Elisa doesn’t have high expectations for her life in Joya d’Arena, until she learns of the true reason her father was desperate to send her away from home. In Joya d’Arena, Elisa also finds out about an ancient prophecy that states that the current Godstone bearer has powers that will change the world forever.

School Library Journal says the book was “compelling…this fast-moving and exciting novel is rife with political conspiracies and machinerations.” I agree with this quote, and also found the novel to be full of plot twists and conflict. So much so, that every time I thought I understood what was happening, another event would happen that would completely shift the end goal. As Elisa journeyed throughout the continent, I found myself becoming more and more hooked to the storyline than I was in the previous chapter. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Carson’s mature writing style, thoughtful storytelling, appealing characters, and surprising twists add up to a page-turner with broad appeal.”

As I got deeper into the book, I found myself sometimes paying more attention to the characters than what was actually happening in the story. Each character was so developed and layered, and their loyalties could change in a heartbeat. In particular, I enjoyed reading about Elisa’s character development as she goes from a shy, nervous girl to a decisive and confident queen of an empire. I was always so interested to see what she was going to do with any given conflict, whether she would make a more timid decision, or be more risky. Also, I liked how all the characters were able to bring something new and different to the story, and how there weren’t many characters that were merely supporting acts. 

This book was exactly the kind of book I love to read. It was a fairytale and fantasy book, but it included elements of real life in it. There were also the typical parts of a fantasy novel in it: scheming monarchs, secret deals, and a magical war. One of my favorite things about the book was that it gave the reader a range of emotions by being funny, endearing, and sometimes heartbreaking. Though the book was a little slow in the beginning, it quickly evolved into a thrilling, fast-paced adventure to find the answer to the prophecy. I had also received several recommendations for The Girl of Fire and Thorns prior to reading the book, and it definitely lived up to my expectations of how good it was going to be.

This book was a beautiful story of a young girl growing up and figuring out what her place is and who she wants to be. Overall, I would give this book a 9/10 for the amazing writing and plot that Rae Carson was able to achieve in her debut novel. I would definitely recommend reading this book to all fantasy readers!