The Girl of Fire and Thorns is the story of Elisa, a sixteen-year-old princess gifted with a magical gemstone from God, who is about to marry a king she has never met. Once she journeys to his kingdom she realizes the danger that her gift puts her in has been concealed from her and there is much more to the gem's history than she was aware. As approaching war comes ever closer to home she must learn to trust her education and instincts in order to lead her new kingdom to victory.
Elisa is not a traditional princess, which greatly benefits her character. She is reluctant to conform to any mold: she eats what she desires and studies what she wishes. Her relationship with God affords her certain freedoms, but it also causes her to be isolated for her own protection. Elisa’s temperament is greatly improved once she begins to learn more of the world outside her kingdom. Realizing that war is not a far off thing, but instead taking place just over the hillside, pushes her into a leadership role. Rather than complain about her situation, she uses her cunning and intellect in order to survive. Unlike many other literary heroes, she does not easily accept a fate that may mean her death. She works to find solutions to survive and fulfill her service to God.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns explores many familiar topics, but does them in an atypical way. The story begins with a royal wedding, but it is by no means a fairytale. Though it is primarily a business arrangement, there is enough hope of romance to give it depth. Elisa’s story is also a coming-of-age tale, but she does not have the story of reflection that so often takes place. Elisa typically accepts her circumstances for what they are and then approaches the situation intellectually. She does not spend a lot of time focusing on the gravity of her situation. Elisa does often contemplate her duty as a bearer, but she knows that failure is a high probability, and she will be no worse off for it in the long run. She takes life one step at a time, and always takes an opportunity to learn from her situation.
If you don't wait for destiny to come to you, read The Girl of Fire and Thorns.
Carson, Rae. The Girl of Fire and Thorns. New York: Harper Collins, Inc., 2011. Kindle Edition.