The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson I'm having a hard time rating and reviewing this book. For a first novel this was great. Premise was unique. Elisa is the youngest, overweight, shy child of a king who as an infant was blessed by god. In her navel she has embedded a jewel that marks her as the chosen. Chosen for what? Elisa doesn't know. But when at 16 she is given in marriage to King Alejandro, the hope to find the answer grows inside of her. The world setting and characters were a mixture of meso-America meets Spanish colonies. As a person who is familiar with the southern region of Mexico I found the references in food and what not to Mayan culture refreshing.

My problem came with the constant mentioning of how overweight Elisa was. How she kept eating her feelings. How she stood out. I don't know if I was supposed to feel empathy or sympathy for her. Instead I seriously wanted to reach inside the book, snatch whatever pastry she was eating and make her walk. I love food but reading about how she would keep eating until she felt so full she couldn't walk made me almost want to purge on her behalf. Insensitive? No. Just annoyed by the author's nonstop reiteration. I get just as annoyed when an author goes on and on about how good looking, beautiful, stunning a character is.

What annoyed me further is that this shy girl doesn't find her confidence until she loses weight. Wait what?! What was the point in making me see beyond her weight and how smart she was if she wasn't going to become a heroine until she shed the pounds? Sadly enough I actually did start liking her a bit more once she shut up about the weight. I also found that what happened to Humberto and Alejandro was too sad. The story does have a happy ending of sorts, just not the "they lived happily ever after" variety.

In conclusion... I'm torn about liking this. Part of me. The other was annoyed and wanted to slap a couple of people. Still. Not bad for a first novel.