review by Maryom
Princess Elisa has been marked out since a baby as someone from whom exceptional things are expected. On her dedication day, when seven days old, a beam of heavenly light shone on her and lodged the Godstone in her navel marking her as one destined for Service. Up till her 16th birthday, there have been no signs of anything extraordinary. So far she has led a protected, indulged existence in the palace but on her birthday she is married off in a political alliance and sent away with an unknown bridegroom to his troubled country on the brink of invasion. There, without her sister and father to fall back on for help and advice, Elisa realises that at last she must stand on her own two feet and make decisions for herself.
My first thought was "Oh no, not another coming of age story!" but don't be put off. Fire and Thorns is an incredibly readable tale that will have you turning pages far too late at night. Although there's definitely a fantasy element to the book, the characters and dilemmas they face are believable, 'real' world ones about self-reliance, friendship, learning to recognise who to trust - and who not to. Princess Elisa grows from a weak, cosseted, useless girl to a strong, capable, dependable young woman and, as Fire and Thorns is very obviously the first of a series, I wonder how she will fare in further stories. Something that immensely appealed to me about her, was her very pointed interest in food - from golden pastries, glazed with honey to spiced, blackened chicken. I wish she'd shared the recipes!
A novel filled with action, danger, exotic locations and a little romance - something for everyone, perhaps.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Orion Books
Genre - Teen/YA, adventure, fantasy
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