The Girl of Fire and Thorns
by: Rae Carson
narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda
We meet Elisa on her wedding day. But, Elisa is not like other princesses on their wedding days. She doesn't know the groom, and she can't fit into her wedding dress. She doesn't know if her husband will be kind or ruthless. And, she's not even sure she wants to be a queen.
So, imagine her surprise when her husband, King Alejandro, is good-looking AND nice. Suddenly things don't seem so bad. But, she soon realizes that there's more to life than a hot husband, and things around her new kingdom aren't going so well. So, whether she likes it or not, she's got to start acting royal.
Audio Review: Jennifer Ikeda does a bang-up job with the narration of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Her voice fits perfectly with Elisa's character. Elisa begins as an overweight princess that, while being incredibly on the ball and smart, is dealing with some pretty serious self-esteem issues. Ikeda definitely channels that insecurity in her voice. And, as Elisa grows in strength, so does Ikeda's portrayal of Elisa. Another nice thing about the audio is that there is a lot of new vocabulary that I wouldn't have had any clue how to pronounce. So, instead of stumbling through that, I was able to breeze through it. I absolutely loved the audio version, and it's going on my list of favorites.
Book Review: It takes a true artist/professional to combine the intricacies of a great fantasy novel with some contemporary issues that many teens are facing today, and Rae Carson does it. The great thing about fantasy is that great writers can write about and connect with their readers on issues that are really a part of humanity no matter the fantastic and magical elements. In this novel, Carson talks about self-esteem, body image and confidence, and it isn't preachy.
Elisa loves to eat. She finds little comfort from her father and sister, and food stands in as her comfort mechanism. (By the way, there are descriptions of food in this novel that had me wiping drool from my mouth pretty frequently). Her maid and lady in waiting love and care deeply for her, but she really lacks true challenge that will allow her to grow.
I really don't think I can ever get enough of novels that feature an initially naive, or inexperienced main character (not whiny though) and take them on a journey where they figure out that they CAN do things, and that they WILL rise to the challenges and responsibilities given to them. Because by the end of the novel, I feel like I've made that journey with them. And although they may not be perfect, they have learned something from their mistakes and they can accomplish great things.
So, basically, I loved it. I will admit that there was a little bit about 60% of the way in where the plot did drag a little. However, by the end it had picked up quite well. I have no idea where the sequel, The Crown of Embers will go, but you can bet that I'm going to find out.