Friday, August 26, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns book one)

Once every century, God chooses one person who is destined for greatness. They are marked with the Godstone in their navel. Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza, Princess of Orovalle, is now the chosen one.

Elisa, the younger daughter of King Hitzedar, is not destined to become queen. That role will fall to her older sister Juana-Alodia. Instead on her naming day, Elisa was chosen by God to bear the Godstone. So on her sixteenth birthday, Elisa finds herself becoming an unwitting bride to King Alejandro de Vega of neighboring Joya d’Arena. As Lady Aneaxi and Nurse Ximena help her into her too tight wedding gown, Elisa hopes that her new husband will be old and fat, as she is overweight. When Alejandro lifts her veil for a kiss, she realizes that he “is the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.”

Elisa and Alejandro spent a chaste wedding night and he tells he that he could use a friend back at court. The next morning, they begin their journey to Joya. Elisa travels with Aneaxi and Ximena. Along the way, their caravan is attacked in the jungle. Elisa and Ximena pull Aneaxi to safety after she breaks her leg. Elisa then grabs a knife and kills one of the three men attacking Alejandro. He lets her know that he is grateful and that she can decide the fate of the one prisoner. When Elisa questions him, he realizes she is the bearer of the Godstone. Before he can say anything, Ximena stabs him through the neck with her hairpin. Elisa realizes that she knows very little about her lifelong companions. Just before they reach Alejandro’s castle in the city, Elisa realizes that Aneaxi is mortally injured and is with her when she dies.

When the group arrives at Alejandro’s castle, it is late at night and no one is there to greet them. Alejandro asks Elisa to keep their marriage a secret for the time being and she is greatly disappointed. The next morning, a young maid named Cosme knocks at her door to help her get ready for breakfast. Elisa soon meets the people at the court and she feels out of place. When Alejandro comes to her room late one night, he informs her that he will be gone for a month to Puerto Verde to visit his mother and retrieve his son. Elisa is crestfallen but he reminds her of their wedding night chat about him needing a friend. He tells Elisa that he needs her to be his eyes and ears around the palace while he is away. She reluctantly agrees.

Upon meeting Father Nicandro, Elisa finds a friend and possibly someone who will tell her about her destiny with the Godstone. Elisa soon learns by what her family meant by when they said she would be safer in Joya because she was too well known as the bearer in Orovalle. She sneaks out late one night to meet with Father Nicardro to learn more about her destiny and decides to confront Ximena with what she has learned. But before that can happen, she is drugged and kidnapped one night from her bed. Soon she is being dragged through the desert and learns that Cosme is behind her predicament. Surprisingly her brother Humberto turns out to be her protector.

What exactly will Elisa’s destiny be as the bearer of the Godstone? Why has her father made a political marriage for her with Alejandro? What secret is being kept from Elisa? Will Elisa and Alejandro have a real marriage? Why has Cosme kidnapped Elisa? And will sparks fly between Elisa and Humberto? Join Elisa on her journey as she discovers not only her future, but her past as well.

The trilogy continues with The Crown of Embers in the fall of 2012 and The Bitter Kingdom in the fall of 2013.

Needless to say, this series is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Elisa reminds me of Raisa from Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series. Definitely looking forwarded to where Elisa’s adventures take her.

Visit Rae Carson's website.

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