The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Princess Elise is the second daughter – unnecessary, fat, and only valued for bearing the Godstone. That is until she marries the neighboring king and comes to understand just what her calling is and how she must use it to serve.
Romance Score: Good Effort
I appreciated the sparks between Elisa and her man-interest. Negative points for being the mature one in her other relationship.
I wanted to like this for its girl power and main character with an uncommonly seen body type. But, all her accomplishments and self-worth come after she walked herself into a more stereotypical body size.
Elisa discusses being darker-skinned than the pale king and nobility, so I saw some effort there. And the enemy is the palest of all and they’re considered “barbaric,” so that’s a twist. But, each kingdom seemed pretty generic/similar by appearance and relationships were heteronormative only.
Awesome Factor: You’re Trying
There’s magic, kingdoms, and battle tactics – all things I like. Elisa is different than most characters (at the beginning) and finds a steely backbone by the middle of the book. But, somehow it never all came together for me.
Cosme – she can help you do pretty much everything and, though harsh and cold at first, will warm up once you show her some competence of your own.
“I’m not done being naked.”
This line is the only one that really stuck out to me and I think it encapsulates the book. I like that she is reveling in her body, but disappointed that she can only do so once she’s lost a large amount of weight. I know this is a real struggle/reaction for someone with body image issues, but I was excited at the beginning because I thought this would be more body positive and this line killed that. But, I still love that she is taking the moment to enjoy her body and the sense of accomplishment she gained from crossing the desert.
Is this worth a book hangover?
Not so much. It’s a quick read, but more from lack of depth than as a page-turner. It’s a fun, light story, though, so I might recommend it as a beach read. It is the first in a series, so maybe the story grows a little more complex as it progresses. I would love to see this world explored and more explanation given for things that seemed a little too easy. The end wrapped up a little too conveniently, so I would love if they come back as bigger issues in the other books.
Fun Author Fact
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Jess loves SFF – old and new school – and is learning to appreciate the more lovey-dovey YA under the careful tutelage of Anisha’s recommendations.