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A Reader of Fictions: When You Believe from The Prince of Egypt

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When You Believe from The Prince of Egypt

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Fire and Thorns, Book 1

Author: Rae Carson
Pages: 432
ARC Acquired from: HarperTeen via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Elisa has some serious self-confidence issues, despite being chosen as the bearer of the godstone. She is the princess of her country, bartered off to marry the king of a neighboring country's king in exchange for an alliance. Her older sister, Alodia, is perfect and she is not. She suspects her future husband took her because he could not have Alodia. Not only is Alodia queenly, she is also beautiful and slim, unlike Elisa, who never lets a tasty treat pass her by. Her only hope is that her husband will be old and ugly...no such luck, though, since he's the most beautiful man she has ever seen in her entire life. How will she survive this marriage and fulfill her service?

Review:
I've been on vacation in New York this past weekend, thus the no posting. I had a great time and I finished this book. Sadly, this book, which I was really excited about, proved rather disappointing. The cover promised fantasy in the vein of Kristin Cashore or Tamora Pierce, but it did not deliver.

For one thing, Elisa is not their kind of heroine. Pierce and Cashore write about extremely strong girls, the kind that, even when completely downtrodden, remain strong and determined. This, Elisa is not, although she does eventually gain in strength and confidence. At the end of the book, she is more like one of their heroines, but, in so many ways, she just does not bring them to mind at all.

I liked that Elisa was not the typical heroine at all, at least if I couldn't have my Cashore-esque heroine. Elisa is overweight, lacks confidence and hopes to be able to marry an ugly man. It's nice to read about someone so atypical sometimes. However, as has been pointed out by others, why would you represent her by the waif on the cover. Sure, the cover drew me in, but it now pisses me off. I mean, who is that? For one thing, she probably ways about 90 pounds soaking wet and, for another, she does not look particularly Spanish, as the character names suggest she should. Fortunately, the cover seems to have been changed for the published version. Good call.

The story kept me fairly interested, but I never felt particularly invested. The godstones always seemed weird and I found their ultimate use pretty dang lame. For those who like fantasy stories, unconventional heroines and don't mind some serious religious content, this is worth a try. If you're expecting something like Kristin Cashore would have written, go reread Graceling or fervently prey for the publication of Bitterblue. However, I know that lots of people have loved this, so go check out some of the high praise by authors before dismissing it completely.

"There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
It's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe"

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3 Comments:

Blogger Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

Oh, no sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as you would have liked. I'm interested in reading this one. Hope your vacation has been great.

September 27, 2011 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

I felt kind of the same way. I think I enjoyed the story and got more into it than you did, but really the back and cover were just so misleading.

September 28, 2011 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I really enjoyed this one, I can see how the cover might have been misleading though!

March 25, 2012 at 1:52 PM  

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