The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

About the Book
Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publishing Date:September 1, 2011
Pages: 423 (hardcover)

Goodreads Summary:
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. 

Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza, "Elisa" — Narrating protagonist. Second daughter of King Hitzedar of Orovalle, married to King Alejandro of Joya D'Arena. Elisa is overweight and is an anxiety/comfort eater. At her naming ceremony, she was chosen by God for a special purpose, and she wears a blue gem, "Godstone", in her navel. Though Elisa is not beautiful like her older sister and does not often leave the classroom, she has devoted her life to studying scripture and military strategy. After her marriage to Alejandro, Elisa proves herself to be quick-thinking in dangerous situations and willing to play political games.

Ximena — Elisa's guardian and mother-figure. In the beginning of the novel she reveals herself to be a highly trained scribe and willing assassin. She has been charged with keeping Elisa safe so she can fulfill God's plans.

King Alejandro — A widower king with a young son, Alejandro marries Elisa in order to get additional troops to fight the Invierne army. He is a careful and sometimes indecisive leader, and he's afraid to fully engage his kingdom in a war. He is affectionate to Elisa but his feelings never go further than that.

Prince Rosario — Alejandro's six year-old son. He's been spoiled and ignored by his father his entire life, but he takes a shine to Elisa when she proves herself trustworthy. 

Lady Ariña — Alejandro's mistress and a sort of rival to Elisa. She comes from the eastern regions of Alejandro's kingdom, where her father is a high-ranking noble. She care deeply for her people and is willing to commit treason for their safety.

Conde Treviño — Lady Ariña's father. He is "ruler" of the eastern regions of the kingdom, and is unwilling to enlist Alejandro's aid because he knows the king is afraid of war. Instead, he strikes a bargain with the Inviernes on his own, hoping they will spare him. He also tries to hand Elisa over to the enemy.
Lord Hector — Royal Guard in Alejandro's service. Becomes friends with Elisa almost immediately, and supports her as she navigates political issues. Stays in Elisa's service when she becomes queen after Alejandro's death.
Father Nicandro — Priest in the kingdom of Joya D'Arena. Becomes a spiritual mentor to Elisa. He helps her stay close to God and determine what He wishes her to do. Provides information about Godstones and helps Elisa learn more about her task.
Condé — A spy from the eastern regions of Alejandro's kingdom, Condé is initially Elisa's (reluctant) maid, but once she discovers that Elisa bears the Godstone, she and other easterners kidnap Elisa and take her across the desert to their village. Over time, Condé becomes a friend and supporter of Elisa's, and the two gain an understanding.

Humberto — Condé's younger brother. Elisa first meets him after being kidnapped, and the two form a close connection. Humberto falls in love with Elisa and is hurt when she reveals that she is already married. Even so, the attraction between the two continues to grow. After his throat is slit by one of Conde Traviño's guards, Humberto dies in Elisa's arms.

The kingdom of Joya D'Arena. The coastal capital city, Brisadulce, as well as the central desert, and hills in the east.

Where The Book Left Off
Elisa and her rebel friends travel to meet with Conde Traviño to negotiate peace and deal with his treasonous actions. They are taken captive there, and Humberto is killed trying to protect Elisa from being handed over to the evil Invierne army. Lord Hector rescues Elisa and her friends from the Conde's prison and reveals that the capital city, Brisadulce will soon be under siege. Elisa travels back west with Hector and impresses the court with her newfound strength and bravery (and slimness). King Alejandro officially crowns her queen two days later, just as the enemy arrives at the city walls. The city is soon overrun with Invierne, but Elisa harnesses the power of her Godstone as well as four other Godstones from previous bearers, and kills the opposing animagi, thereby driving away the Inviernes. Alejando is wounded in the act, and dies a few days afterward, naming Elisa Queen Regent until Prince Rosario comes of age. Elisa's first act is to name Condé Queen of Basajuan, giving the eastern people their freedom and autonomy. 

Next Book
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)

Thank you Renae @ Respiring Thoughts for this amazing contribution!


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