Author: Rae Carson
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
I have put off this review long enough. It should be telling enough that to this day I preserve a place in my heart that severely abhors this book; it has left that much of an impact on
The reason I read this? I wanted to read a high fantasy book that would be reminiscent of Stolen Songbird, a recent favorite of mine, and wanted to relive the experience but in a different book. Actually--screw it--imma go right out and say that the sole reason I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns was because I had bought the second book last year for like $1.99 and I wanted to get this series out of the way.
I didn't expect to love this. But neither did I expect to hate it to this extent.
The first chapter was decent enough. The storyline in itself is not a bad one, but after Elisa leaves the palace, the story goes awry. I hadn't minded the story until then, but once there’s a lot less courtly-stuff and a lot more magical WTFery, I definitely began to mind.
I’ll start with the aforementioned magical WTFery. You know in good fantasy books, like Harry Potter, where the magic does not make a bit of rational sense,
Not only did the magic make absolutely no sense--or as much sense as magic could make--the fantasy was terrible. It was as generic as those nasty rip-off Oreos at the grocery store. I should start a new genre called Fake Fantasy, and this would be the first book labeled as thus. You know what? The Girl of Fire and Thorns is to the fantasy genre as Defiance is to dystopia, and if you've read that book (and disliked it) you’d know what I mean.
Then there’s Elisa, my favorite character in all of YA fantasy (heh). Oh, God, she was intolerable. She was not that bad at the beginning of the book, and I feel like some teens would be able to relate to her and even like her on some level. But once I passed that line between palace and desert, she became unbearably annoying and whiny and… skinny! Yes, the girl that I was excited to read about, probably one of the only “fat” girls in YA fantasy, magically turned skinny after a month’s treck in the desert. And somehow all her problems just magically evaporated. Man, I wish I could spend a month in the desert and come back home to all my problems being solved. Wait, life doesn't work like that.
Learn from this, girls: the only way you can get what you want is by losing weight. Lose those love handles, throw away that bag of chips, or else you sure as heck won’t be achieving anything in your life. *sigh*
(Sidenote: I’m genuinely curious what the author was trying to do with this? How could someone not be offended by this? Not that I think that fiction should be censored, but truly, there had to have been a reason behind this blatant issue that I’m missing.)
The rest of the characters? Nothing too significant about any of them. I mean, screw characterization, right? In all seriousness, though, the characters were very minimally developed. I began to categorize characters based on whether or not they liked Elisa, because that’s as deep a description as they got. If you like character-based novels, or even if you expect more characterization than the superficial, then you’re in for a big disappointment.
The romance was, in one very long word (?): blehhhhhhhh. That’s all I’m going to say as I’ll probably spoil approximately the entire book if I let myself go on this diatribe.
The plot: just kept going on. And on. And on. To nowhere. Absolutely nothing happened along the way. This was one very long book, and for a book this long, I’d expect more than never-ending walks. Heck, I’m pretty sure the plot was lost along the way of one of Elisa’s never-ending treads. Where’d ya go, plot?
While I’m at it, I’ll tick off the other boxes: Worldbuilding? Nonexistent. Writing? Mediocre. Pacing? LOL.
The only people I’d recommend this to are for those with very, very low standards for young adult fantasy, and even then, I’d warn them of the oncoming disaster.