The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Rae Carson
The Girl of Fire and Thorns Cover

The Girl of Fire and Thorns


I'm pretty disheartened to report that (Girl of) Fire and Thorns disappointed me. The characters, story, and love interest were all fine. They were okay. I even grew to like Elisa more by halfway. But by the mid-point of the book, I became bored of the story itself. Something about it lost my interest. Humberto was a very bland love interest to me, and Alejandro 100% pointless, so I found the romance lacking - and a good romance can keep me reading even if the story is flat.

The world was pretty decent; I liked the desert and the hill lands, and they felt pretty original, not a carbon copy of every other YA high fantasy. What I did really enjoy was the weaving of magic and religion, something I liked in my recent read of Grave Mercy. I thought the use of a gemstone for magic use was thoroughly inventive, and the fact that the stone was buried in Elisa's navel was intriguing. But aside from the magic, I wasn't invested in the story at all. For some reason the threat felt distant, detached, and even when faced with the villains I found myself indifferent to whether Elisa succeeded or failed, not really caring about the outcome.

What I do commend is Rae Carson championing a fat, ungifted, utterly ordinary protagonist and making a heroine from her nonetheless. We need more of those in fantasy, and all across the YA category. Sexuality, race, and gender are just starting to be considered and reflected in our books, and it's time our bodies were accurately represented in man characters, too.

Overall: a perfectly acceptable, if a little average, story of a girl's growth and her struggle for faith, in her God, in her purpose, in herself. A recommended read if only for the fat protag and wealth of POC.