Author: Rae Carson
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Source: purchased audiobook
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
I knew that The Girl of Fire and Thorns was going to be right up my alley. I even purchased a hardcover when it was first released last year. And then life and other books came along and stole my attention away, so this lovely book sat on my shelf, collecting dust. But it was not forgotten. No, I started seeing reviews for The Crown of Embers, and I knew I had to make time for The Girl of Fire and Thorns because reviews were pouring in, stating that The Crown of Embers surpassed The Girl of Fire and Thorns in awesomeness. I didn’t think that was possible, considering all of the rave reviews I’d already seen for The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but there it is.
Well, I realized I was accumulating quite a few credits on Audible, and I also realized that The Girl of Fire and Thorns had just been released on audio this summer. Jumping for joy ensues, obviously, because now I don’t have to try to fit the novel into my already full reading schedule…I can listen on my commute. Except, I can’t simply stop listening to this story when I get out of the car. I just couldn’t make myself. The book taunted me at all hours of the day: “Oh, won’t you listen a little longer and find out what happens to Elisa once she gets to Alejandro’s kingdom….assuming she makes it there!” And the evil audiobook would cackle and torment me some more, and eventually I was listening to this thing non-stop. I usually make an audiobook last a week or so during my drive, but The Girl of Fire and Thorns just wouldn’t hear of that. It was addicting, is what it was. Even now, I can hear it calling to me, begging for a re-listen. The ego on that audio…sheesh!
Elisa, Elisa, Elisa…where do I begin? Oh, I know…a funny little anecdote that has hardly anything at all to do with the story. So, I’m listening to the book at work, and I share a [spectacular] office with my sister – yeah, I have the pleasure of bossing my lil sis around all day at work…it’s like I never moved outta the house – anyway, I’m listening to The Girl of Fire and Thorns and I’ve only just begun it and it’s the part where Elisa is talking about her godstone. I’m trying to describe it to my sister, and I tell her that Elisa has this blue jewel in her navel indicating her status as The Chosen One, and she replies, “So…she’s essentially a troll doll?” I thought it might go downhill from there because I can be a bit weak-minded at times, and I might let a comment like that sway my opinion. But I needn’t have worried…the story swayed my opinion all on its own.
Okay, but back to Elisa. This girl finds herself in a predicament. Suddenly, she’s married and leaving home to help rule this handsome guy’s kingdom. Arguably, I tend to favor the self-deprecating, reluctant heroine. Elisa is no different. She opines the fact that she is neither beautiful nor trim nor eloquent like her older sister. Elisa shouldn’t be the one getting married and leaving her family…her sister should! Ah, but her sister is not The Chosen One, a fact her sister probably opines. (I might know the answer to that if I had already read The Shadow Cats, the prequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns told from Alodia’s POV, but alas, I have not had the time yet.)
The cast of secondary characters are just as beloved to me as Elisa. They were thoroughly human and realistic in both their actions and their motivations, and even when I wasn’t sure I could trust them, I still found myself liking them. From the love interests to the nursemaids, I wanted to give them all big hugs and tell them to have faith in Elisa, that even though they were worried about her, she was a big girl and could handle herself.
They heed my warnings whether they know it or not, but as much as I wish I could say it, not everyone comes out of this okay. There are daring escapes and chases and rebellions and any and all manner of maimings. And though this book brought about some really tearful revelations, I love that the author took it there…that she was unafraid to walk that path of death and devastation, regardless of how much it might hurt her characters or her readers.
I practically gave this book a standing ovation when I was done listening. This was my final status update on Goodreads upon finishing: “Holy eff-you-see-kay. If all that happens in the first book, I can't imagine how awesome the next book is going to be. Luckily, I don't have to wait too long to find out. :D” Lucky indeed. I’m undecided as to whether I want to listen to the audio for The Crown of Embers, though. Not because of the actual audio…Jennifer Ikeda’s narration was superb. I’ve listened to her work before, and it does not disappoint. However, I’m not sure I can wait until the audio is released, and since Audible doesn’t show it listed with next week’s new releases, I fear it will not be released in the immediate future. And although I haven’t had to wait near as long as some fans of this series, I already feel like I’ve waited long enough to continue Elisa’s journey as The Chosen One.