I cracked open these books, the first two of a trilogy, with much excitement, and they did not disappoint. The Girl of Fire and Thorns and the second, Crown of Thorns, by Rae Carson, are both richly imagined fantasies set in a world filled with deceit, romance, and fast-paced adventure. Best of all, they sport a complex story arc.
The landscape is grand and sweeping, with terrifying forests, forbidding mountains, and barren deserts. The heroine, Elisa, is refreshing and unexpected, an imperfect, over-eating princess, who sets off to fulfill her destiny, to marry a neighboring land's king to keep peace across the borders.
Expecting her future husband to be old, fat, and unpleasant, she is surprised upon meeting her betrothed, who is equally impressed by the unexpected nature of his mate. But, married life between the two secretive kingdoms is not all comfort and romance, for there is a twist, several twists, in fact.
Elise has something special about her, a faceted magical stone that has been part of her person since birth, but she knows nothing of managing the power pulsing from the Godstone that has the potential to topple kingdoms and turn greedy men to ill deeds. She is challenged at every turn and must dig deeply to find the strength to lead a revolution. Bravo, Ms. Carson--can’t wait for the final adventure!