The Girl of Fire and Thorns takes navel gazing to a whole new level… but seriously. In this world, once in a hundred years, one person is chosen by God to do something (the main character is never quite sure what this is) and her position as the chosen one is indicated by a large jewel that mystically implants itself in the person’s belly button. To be fair, I was never really able to get over the silliness of this main premise to truly appreciate the story. The whole Godstone thing was too funny to me. It reminded me of Dark Helmet’s ring in Spaceballs, a religious artifact that inspires fear and reverence but was also patently ridiculous.
The main part of the action takes place in a desert setting (reminiscent of Dune). Elisa, the bejeweled heroine, doesn’t know her own strength, moves through tests that teach her that strength, and then it all leads to a conclusive, final action that was so hilarious that I had to put the book (e-reader) down for a moment to process it.
Now, the cultural struggle between Elisa’s people and the Invernie was interesting. I liked the juxtaposition of an earthy, animalistic, nomadic culture with the more civilized, religiously structured, city culture. I also liked the heroine herself. She seems to have an eating disorder and some seriously raging teen hormones, but otherwise, Elisa is a strong, female role model in the vein of Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior.
If the reader can overlook the whole belly button situation, he or she may really enjoy The Girl of Fire and Thorns. You may also enjoy the young adult reads: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury or The Girl, the Gypsy and the Gargoyle by Darcy Pattison.
Thanks for reading!