22 July 2011

carolina valdez miller:Review of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS and Super ARC Giveaway...Another One

Review of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS and Super ARC Giveaway...Another One

I actually read this book a while ago, but I've been waiting to review this until it got a little closer to its launch date--mainly, I wanted this book to be fresh in your mind for the release. Because you MUST READ THIS. It's not an order. Just, you know, a really strong suggestion. Look into my eyes...you are getting sleepy.

No, seriously, check it out.
Me with Derek Molata, TGOFAT ARC, and Brad Beaulieu

This is the ARC cover, which if you win this book, you will get. See below for the other hot ARCs you can win.

Okay, so first my review:

by Rae Carson

Girl of Fire and Thorns
Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

YES. A fantasy YA with a strong heroine that is not also perfect. Elisa doesn't have the ideal body, astonishing self-control, confidence disguised as razor sharp wit, or all the answers. She doesn't always know what to say, she overeats and overindulges and gives in to bouts of self-pity and insecurity. Which is just...right. Because most people do all of these things sometimes, especially sixteen year old girls. So how is she strong? Well, she's not at first, at least not on the surface. Elisa has to earn her strength like most people do--through trial and tribulation. Nobody is really born kickass. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS shows us that bravery is a learned behavior. That kickassedness is not a fixed, natural trait, but an assertion that has to be made over and over--an act of sheer will and possibly even an act of defiance. And always, an act born out of necessity. How incredibly hopeful that is. I can never be like Superman. But Elisa? Possibly.

The irony is, here's this princess who is somewhat of an outcast within her own society. So while you might expect a princess to be a "chosen one," you wouldn't expect Elisa to be anything. It's like weakling Harry Potter if he knew from the get-go he were a wizard and everyone in the wizarding world thought he was kind of lame despite that scar. Elisa has to somehow overcome her own insecurities as well as the doubts of everyone else to fulfill a prophecy to save all their hides.  And then she discovers that not everyone believes in the prophecy in the same way she does, so suddenly her faith, which has been her constant companion and her greatest strength, is tested most of all. There are no easy answers, no obvious choices or hidden paths that Elisa just isn't seeing. It's a complicated world of grays where she has to learn as much as she can and rely on her instincts and her faith for answers. Pretty realistic in that regard--and in many other ways.

While THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is indeed a fantasy, I sort of kept forgetting that. It reads almost like a kickass historical with paranormal elements. Yes, there are some freaky-cool things in this world, but it feels inspired by real-life elements. It wasn't your typical medieval feeling fantasy, but rather felt sort of like an amalgamation of Latin and Middle Eastern cultures with a YA fantasy twist. The descriptions are rock solid--so, so vivid, I could nearly feel the grit of sand against my skin--with a world that is rich with detailed history, religion, monarchy, and paranormal mythos. But while the world building is remarkable, the characterization is easily a highlight with fully fleshed, complex characters. The overweight girl is not one to pity and the pretty, charming girl is not one to hate. This is bigger than that. Like I said, a complicated world of grays, just like ours. Even love feels complicated in this, and thus authentic. It's not a matter of love at first sight, but love as a choice.

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is intense, full of emotional twists and unexpected plot turns, riveting to the end. Will be available September 20, 2011.



I'm offering up these books, okay? Click on their covers for pop-up Goodreads summaries.

Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson

See my review above! Please note, the ARC in the giveaway has a different cover.

The Eleventh Plague
by Jeff Hirsch

I read this one entirely on the plane ride home from New Orleans. It's amazing. So real and scary and just...un-put-downable. I'll get a full review up for this in a few days.

Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins

I haven't yet finished this one, but Ahhh! Whipping through it. It might possibly be even better than ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Not sure yet. That one is hard to top. But I'll try to get a full review up for this soon, too.

This 3 ARC Giveaway is international. Ends on Thursday, July 28, 2011. Must be 13 years or older to enter. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment.

Click Here to Enter Another Three ARC International Giveaway


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