Elisa is the second daughter of the king of Oravalle, and is the complete opposite of her sister. While her sister is beautiful, graceful, and always at the center of attention, Elisa is overweight, clumsy, and shy. She really isn’t all that important to the kingdom, this second princess, and she very well knows it. Except, in Elisha’s case, she was blessed with a special mark from God on her naming day. On that day, God put a sparkling blue, living stone in her navel, a favor that is only given every 100 years. It means that the bearer will perform a special service for God, something large and important. Elisa is pretty sure she’s not up to the task, for she is pretty sure she doesn’t have the talents for much of anything, except perhaps eating.
Then, on her sixteenth birthday, Elisa’s life changes quickly and forever. She is married to King Alejandro, handsome ruler of a neighboring country, and whisked away to his homeland. And just as quickly, she is made aware of the threat of invasion from the hostile forces of the county of Invierne. Life in the palace isn’t peaceful either, as political currents swirl all around the inner court. Elisa must call on hidden strengths as she tries to puzzle out her place in the increasingly tense situation. And then, when she is kidnapped, the entire situation changes again. Now Elisa must find a way to complete her service, help her people, and find love, all at the same time.
This is a very special book. Elisa is a strong character, one faced with an almost insurmountable task. Rae Carson immerses you in the story, and gives you a cast of complex, wonderful characters. This is a fast-paced adventure, and you will feel the tension as Elisa faces the challenges before her. If you liked other fantasy titles such as “The Throne of Glass,” by Sarah J. Maas and “Graceling,” by Kristin Cashore, then you will love “The Girl of Fire and Thorns.”