Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Greenwillow (9.20.2011)
Hardcover, 423 pages
Source: From author signing, I own it
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.
I’ve been meaning to read this one for quite some time now; I’d been really excited to dive into this story, as there was a lot of hype about it when it was a newer book. I met Rae at a signing not too long ago, and thought she was pretty awesome. So it makes me very sad to say that this one wasn’t really my cup of tea.
It was slow, painfully slow, in the first half. I was bored to tears, and I was seriously contemplating DNFing it. I struggled terribly so. Despite being high fantasy, it almost had a historical feel to me. History is one of those subjects; you know, the ones that make me go cross eyed when the conversation even comes close to the subject. Religion is another. I certainly did not expect this book to be so religious! Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in God. But that’s as far as it goes. I don’t care to read or hear about religion. Just the start of a religious conversation makes my eyes glaze over and my brain wander. There were a few times when I confess that I started skimming because it got too religious for me. It’s not that the subject bothers me. I simply don’t care.
Another major problem I had? The constant – and I do mean constant, it was practically every other page – fat shaming. Elisa was fat, and this book does not let you forget that. It got to the point that I wanted to throw the book. The amount of times that her weight was mentioned was excessive and offensive. It really pissed me off! There was constant mention of how she looked like a sausage or a stuffed pig, how she was large or fat, her ample rear and her girth. Because I am fat. I will never be dainty. Not an athletic person. The strongest man alive couldn’t carry me for any distance.She kept stuffing herself with food to the point of discomfort. There was continual talk of food – we don’t need to know every single meal she eats! Seriously, all you have to do is say she’s curvy or make some sort of reference to being heavy once or twice, and your readers will understand that she is not skinny. They don’t need to be reminded multiple times a chapter! We finally get a female lead that isn’t thin, and it’s portrayed negatively. There’s nothing wrong with being curvy.
Although it irritated me that Elisa doesn’t gain confidence until she starts losing weight, I do have to admit that there was clear development in her character. She grows stronger in body and mind as the story progresses, and learns to stand up for herself. I love that she finds faith in herself, but wish that she could have done so even with her weight.
I felt absolutely nothing while reading this book (well…besides anger at the fat prods, anyway). View Spoiler » Three characters died « Hide Spoiler and I felt nothing. Not even a twinge. Logically, I should have been crying! View Spoiler »And Humberto’s death didn’t come as a surprise to me, because for some reason I expected him to die. « Hide Spoiler I felt very disconnected and indifferent to the story.
I couldn’t connect with the characters, either. I didn’t like or dislike any of them: Ariña (who I probably should have hated), Alejandro, Rosario, Humberto. Cosmé was alright. I like how she seemed cold at first and warmed to Elisa slowly as time passed. I am, however, very curious about Hector. *winks* I can’t say that he’s swoony, necessarily, but I did like him and I want to see more of him in book 2!
The only thing that kept me going was the fact that so many people have told me that book 2 is way better. I’ve heard several say they didn’t like book 1, but loved the next. Several times I very nearly said ‘to hell with it’ to go read the summary on Recaptains. But I hate to quit anything (stubborn, I am), and I do have to say that it did get better. But it took 75% for me to finally start enjoying it. In the end there was way more action, and I gotta admit that Elisa was a pretty kick-ass character once she realized her worth.
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5