Ever since I caught a glimpse of this book at my local indie, I knew I would love it. And by glimpse, I mean reading the first chapter and absolutely dying that I couldn't buy it right then. I wanted to know more about this chubby princess who was soon to be known queen in a kingdom she'd never been before. I wanted to read about her new husband who's kind but a bit of a ditz when it comes to actual battles. And most of all, I want to warm to the history of the Godstone and all its previous bearers. All this is introduced in the very first chapter and it was this that kept me in the book's thrall till I could get a copy of my own.
Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza is a known princess in her country, Orovalle, for being chosen soon after birth by God, to fulfill an important service. Unfortunately, due to her country's beliefs, Elisa was kept in the dark of what exactly the service my entail and the true fatality that's more than likely to occur were she to fail completing the service. It's with the help of new friends that Elisa makes in her new home country that she realizes the complexity and enormity of her service unto God. While war is something Elisa enjoy reading about in her Belleza Guerra, she never thought she'd be asked to put her expertise into the real makings of war. The Girl of Fire and Thorns depicts a fantasy world where war is an all to real prospect, and where the identity of the Godstone-bearer is a fundamental element to both sides, where the power it represents could make or break a nation.
Characters: Of course, I must start with Elisa; for she is my favorite character and main heroine in all this. Even though I knew in the very beginning that she was a tad too immature to govern a whole nation because she's been mostly living on sweets and the Godstone to get her by, she had the potential makings for a magnificent ruler.With the help of her nurse, Ximena, and her lady-in-waiting, Aneaxi, Elisa was a well-rounded person capable of compassion and grace with a healthy level of insecurity that throughout the book flourishes into quite the polar opposite. Her development was in part due to the strength she constantly saw in the people making the decisions around her and her own belief that she could be an asset instead of a hindrance. Most of the other important characters had their individualistic roles to play, like Alejandro King of Joya d'Arena, Lord Hector his personal guard, both influential Priest that help guide Elisa, and of course the Malficio. Each person and group of people that Elisa meets, in some way make a difference and enhance the plot with presence. Even the evil dudes, the Invierne, have their own spotlight for a time that illuminates their cataclysmic tendencies.
Plot: The unpredictability of The Girl of Fire and Thorns was my favorite aspect of the whole book. Even more than the characters because I loved how it always kept me on edge and I honestly could not predict what was going to happen with the Godstone until it was all unveiled in the last stint of the book. The flow and pace as which the story progressed was suitable to the constant twists that the author liked to input every two chapters or so. I couldn't fully grasp some of the paths that Ms. Carson took the book in because it took my expectations and incinerated them with an Invierne amulet; I was riveted the whole way through. Unbelievably so, this book will have you thinking about it even after you've finished and have you guessing numerous times as to what book two could entail.
Originality: Seriously, who could up with this stuff? Ms. Carson, you're fan-flipping-amazing. Not only did the characters bring something new to the YA Genre but the settings and vivacity of the change in scenery every quarter of the book kept it alive and refreshing. One moment you're in a desert, the next you're deep in the forest and mountain ranges, and then you circle back to the monstrous palace. It's absolutely incredible what this author can do with words.
Overall: You could not prepare for how epic this book is, so I suggest you just enjoy the escape it provides and thrive in the experience.