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. 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. (From Amazon.com)
Sissy: I have to just jump right in here and say I LOVED the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson! I spent a lot of time with those books, and lost a lot of sleep. I read the first one and told Bubby about it, and then she (speed reader extraordinaire) read all three and urged me to finish the series AT ONCE! (She is bossy like that…). I finished the 2nd one a little after midnight one night and texted my dear sister that I needed the last one IMMEDIATELY! (I pull “eldest sister” rank like that sometimes…). She is a night owl anyway. The story is epic! Any male would have to rank this tale as high on adventure, action, and all the other manly stuff, except there is enough romance, mystery, magic, and assorted girly stuff to satisfy any female. I wanted to glue a gem in my belly button and pretend I am a bearer of the Godstone. I may still do it.
Bubby: Well, then. So are you saying you liked these books, Sissy? Wow. For me, this series was not an instant hit as it was for Sissy. It grew on me, line by line and chapter by chapter. I have an issue with novels that are written from a first-person present tense point of view. You know, like “I walk through the door and there Sissy sits, eating the last piece of my Godiva Chocolate. I wonder how I will ever be able to love her again as I begin to cry.” Everything is happening RIGHT NOW. It takes me a while to get past that and be able to enjoy the story. I know, I’m a traditionalist old fuddy-duddy for preferring third-person writing. Get over it. The point is, once I got past my issues, I began to really enjoy Elisa’s adventures. How would it be to know without a shadow of a doubt that you were one of a very few choice persons who had been chosen by God for a very specific purpose? I loved watching Elisa grow from a confused little girl into a strong, powerful, confident woman.
Sissy: The books were so good, I didn’t even notice what person they were written in, except for maybe “skillful writing” person. And I would never eat the last of your Godiva chocolates–I might find myself impaled in the eyeball by a corner of the empty box! I also was intrigued with the evolution of Elisa–from a girl who felt unremarkable in every way and unworthy of a Godstone to an all-powerful warrior/sorceress queen. Now, those who want to hear the message that they are fine just the way they are may mistake this as a tale of one who must change everything about herself in order to be worthwhile. But it really is a tale of discovery. In discovering her full potential, Elisa realizes the extraordinariness that was always part of her; not discarding her unique self, but empowering it.
Bubby: These are not light and fluffy books. There is violence and death, trial and pain, redemption and love. They are marketed as Young Adult novels but I think they appeal to a much wider audience. I know that one of Sissy’s pet peeves is when fantasy authors put too much detail into their world building (see our review of Elantris for an example of her ranting) but Rae Carson did an excellent job of building a world that had just enough differentness to keep it interesting without alienating any of her elderly, mush-for-brains readers like Sissy. Just kidding, Sissy. I know that you are as intelligent as you are beautiful! These are captivating books that will reel you in and keep you up well past your bedtime.
Sissy: I agree with you, Bubby (not about the part where you call me elderly) that Rae Carson’s civilizations of Oravalle, Invierne, etc. are beautifully done and do not give me a headache. What can I say, but that if you’re up for an exciting, adventurous read, these books are good!
Click HERE to buy Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson at Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy Crown of Embers by Rae Carson at Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson at Amazon.com