Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza is the chosen one--the bearer of the Godstone and marked for special and sacred service. But Elisa is also the younger, less attractive, and more ignored of two princesses. She can't imagine ever doing anything remarkable. Then, on her sixteenth birthday, Elisa becomes the secret wife of a handsome king who is desperate for the political aid and unknown power that Elisa can bring to his tumultuous nation. Now Elisa, who is more comfortable reading religious texts in the library or snacking on pastries in the kitchen, must enter into a new court as her husband's secret ally. The kingdom is on the verge of war and leaders on all sides are very interested in the mystical bearer of the sacred Godstone--including a daring young revolutionary convinced that Elisa can save his people. Soon Elisa has left her sheltered life far behind as she enters into a dangerous adventure full of political intrigue and magical battles. But in order to save a nation and its people, Elisa must learn to understand and use the power deep within herself, risking her life and her heart in process.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns brings us into a rich, new magical world with fully developed cultures and religion. Unlike many other fantasy adventures, this world appears to be physically and culturally inspired by Spanish and Mediterraean societies. Elisa is a wonderful protagonist, whose unique strengths grow and develop visibly as the story enfolds. She is highly intelligent and is a both a skilled military stratagist and a perceptive religious scholar. When the novel begins, she lacks a great deal of self-confidence and has spent much of her life doing very little physical activity and eating when upset or nervous. However, when forced into strenuous physical activity by necessity, Elisa grits her teeth and refuses to give up; as a result, she gains better health, new survival skills, and a more positive attitude towards her body and her abilities.
In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Carson creates an action-packed story filled with three-dimensional characters and uniquely interesting settings. This novel is definite must-read for fans of Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, and Robin McKinley!