Once every hundred years, a child is born to be the bearer of the Godstone, chosen to perform an act of great service. Elisa is not your typical chosen one. The younger and, in her opinion, the more disappointing of two princesses, she is overweight, unsure of herself, and on her sixteenth birthday finds herself secretly and abruptly married off to the king of a neighboring country. Though extremely intelligent and kind, Elisa feels inadequate and alone in an unfamiliar desert kingdom with the challenge of keeping her status as the bearer of the Godstone a secret. For the chosen one, enemies are hidden everywhere, and there are powerful forces after Elisa from the moment she leaves her homeland. Will she be able to escape her enemies and rise above her self-doubt long enough to become the leader her people need? Or will she, like many others chosen before her, die young without fulfilling her destiny?
The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a fast-paced coming-of-age fantasy with a flawed yet likeable heroine in a beautifully constructed world where religion and magic are linked. Elisa is a refreshingly relatable and atypical heroine who struggles with the same insecurities and questions of identity and purpose we all do. There is a religious element to the book and Elisa holds strong beliefs which help guide her quest to find her calling. Sprinkled with Spanish-inspired language, rich details, and yes, a little romance, this is a unique debut novel. The first in a planned trilogy, this one should not be missed by fans of Kristin Cashore's Graceling, or fans of strong heroines and sweeping fantasy. But beware - part 2 isn't due out until fall of 2012.
Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki