Intellectual Rating: 3 out of 10 stars
Emotional Grade: D
Book Blurb: (from Goodreads) 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
Alz's Take: This book has some good points, including an interesting non-traditional fantasy setting, by which I mean the main culture appears to be Spanish-based, and it's not all forests and castles because it's set in jungles and deserts. The writing style is nice enough, and once in a while quite pretty. The protagonist is a fat useless princess.
The whole Godstone and Chosen of God thing works out well too—I feared at the outset that the story would devolve into maunderings on faith and morality, but it didn't. The religious aspect of the book was treated more as background and a mainstay of the world than as a focus; the real focus is on characters and plot. I've read some comparisons and criticisms to Christian lit but I've read some Christian lit and The Girl of Fire and Thorns does not fall under that category anymore than Daughter of Smoke and Bone or Chime does.
Without spoilers, I'll give you an example of this kind of problem, drawing from an example given in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. You want to solve world hunger. What do you do?
Elisa's brilliant strategy would be: Feed the hungry!
|Very good, Elisa! But where did you get that food?|
Now imagine a girl like this wrapped up in court intrigue, political maneuverings, rebellions that aren't even real rebellions, and who is also the center of a never-explained war. Imagine this girl being put into a position of military authority. Imagine her sheer incompetence that everyone else hails as brilliant strategy. Imagine her succeeding despite overwhelming odds, never-explained apparently-inexhaustible resources, and battle plans that I wouldn't respect by using for toilet paper.