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Monday, 7 October 2013

Series Review: Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson

This review contains spoilers for those who haven't read the whole series.

Girl of Fire and Thorns (#1)

The Crown of Embers (#2)

The Bitter Kingdom (#3)


The Girl of Fire and Thorns (#1)

★★★★☆

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. She 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 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. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

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 Crown of Embers (#2)

★★★


In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

The Bitter Kingdom (#3)

★★★★☆

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

Review:


I absolutely loved this series and I'm so sad I've finished it! Once I started the first book I was completely sucked in the story. I finished the whole series in a week, I was so addicted to it!

Short Summary

The Fire and Thorns series is a fantasy series about Elisa, who bares a magic stone called the Godstone. She is married off to a king of a neighbouring country. At first she is very insecure, but as she learns more about her powers and make friends she becomes more confident. The series is about the coming war between her country and the magical country of Ivierne. 

Characters

Oh, so many extraordinary characters in this series!

When we meet Elisa, she is a insecure, inactive princess described by herself as really fat.
I wasn't really bothered by Elisa's insecure talk about her body in the beginning of book one. It just highlighted the contrast with her new found confidence later in the book. I don't think this encourages girls to think that by losing weight you suddenly become a much better person who everyone likes. By losing weight, but mostly by surviving the desert (which caused her weight loss), Elisa finally finds the confidence she was always missing, learns to accept herself and her flaws and becomes a stronger person. 
Elisa develops so much in this series, I've rarely seen so much character development in a YA series. As I said, she goes from an insecure girl to a strong, independent woman and true queen.

Hector, Hector, Hector.. What is it with royal guards in fantasy series that makes them so attractive (Chaol...)? Hector is introduced in book one as guard of King Alejandro and his loyal friend. From the beginning he seemed a kind and trustworthy character, and as the story progressed I liked him more and more. On the surface he's a stoic man, but he turns out to be very warm-hearted and a lot of other very positive adjectives. I love how he always wants the best for Elisa and tries to protect her however he can. 

And there were a lot of other great and realistic characters in this series. We have Elisa's friends from the deserts: Cosmé, Belen, Mara.. all survivors; unexpected Ivierne friend Storm, the too loyal nurse Ximena and of course weak-willed king Alejandro. Those are just a few of them, though they all seemed to play a great role in the story, even the small characters.

Romance

The romance in this series was very confusing. First I thought Elisa and Alejandro would become a thing eventually.. no. Then we had Elisa and Humberto.. no. And when I thought we had our final couple, Elisa and Hector, things got messy between them too. But luckily the mess got cleaned up and they got their happily-ever-after, phew.
Elisa and Hector (Helisa?) was definitely my favourite couple in this series, They weren't all swoony and lovebirdy, but just very sweet and caring about each other. They always protected each other and would literally go to the lair of the enemy to save the other.

Fantasy

The writer has succesfully created a whole new fantasy world. And in this world there's magic, Godstones and Animagi who create fire.. what's not to love? The world building has been done in a lot of detail and the writer took enough time to explain the world and the magic. 
The fantasy world in this series has a lot of Spanish influence. All names, of countries, cities and people are Spanish and the descriptions of building and landscape have a bit of a Spanish/Mexican feel. Me gusta!
The Godstone part of the story is based on religion. I have seen some reviewers who were bothered by it, but I wasn't. The religion wasn't specified, although it had a lot of similarities to Christianity. The religion in the series wasn't preached, but was treated like another kind of magic, that made it mysterious and very interesting to read about. 

Plot

The series has a lot of action and is never boring. A lot of the time Elisa is traveling through all sorts of landscapes, mostly dangerous ones. There were lots of twists and turns in this series: things and people who were not as they seemed and a lot of betrayals and deaths. 
I loved the ending of the series, because it wasn't open, all questions were answered and all problems solved. I really dislike YA series which leave their ends open with still some questions to answer, it's quite frustrating. 

Conclusion

Everyone should read this amazing fantasy series! It has all the elements of a great YA series: action, romance, magic, humour, lovely characters.. etc etc. 

PS: I haven't read the short stories accompanying this series, but I sure am planning to.


Overall stars:  4 (or maybe even 4.5) out of 5

4 comments:

  1. I loved this series too, but I definitely enjoyed the second and third books more than the first. I think maybe it was because of the confusing romance, where you weren't sure who she was supposed to be with and I wasn't that big of a fan of Humberto (I just never felt them together). But starting with the second book, I fell in love with the story and the characters, especially Hector. And the character development and growth in this series is phenomenal. Great review and glad you loved the books! ~Pam

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  2. This series is the best! I still need to read the last one, but I'm looking forward to it <3

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  3. Wow this looks like a really cool series! The fantasy looks amazing, the romance looks very unreliable, but Hector's likes CHAOL?! I love Chaol!! I really need to check this series out, great review Eveline!

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  4. You should really read it if you like Throne of Glass!

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