Here's the summary from Goodreads: 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.
What I Liked: 1) I loved Elisa. Seriously, how interesting to find a heroine like her! There are several passages in the book that I read and just wanted to hug her. I could completely empathize with her at times, especially at times when she felt like she wasn't enough for what people were expecting of her. But I also loved watching her change throughout the book. If anyone out there is ever looking for an example of character growth in a book, I'd recommend the check out Elisa in The Girl of Fire and Thorns. She's a meek, timid girl in the beginning, who would be happier being invisible than anything else, and then to grow into the leader and the fighter that she is at the end. Ah! So great! 2) This was a long book, but it was split into three parts, which I really appreciated. The breaks were in appropriate places and fit well into the storyline. Sometimes breaks like this can stop the flow of a story, but this book is a marathon, not a sprint, and the breaks were definitely a welcome breath. 3) The Godstone. There is so much myth and mystery around the Godstone that Elisa possesses. And with each different place that Elisa visits, she (and the reader) gets to learn more and more about it. It is so much more than just a calling that she thinks she will never live up to. I was so curious about where that was going and what was expected of her. 4) The Malficio. You will have to read it to figure out who exactly these people are, but I loved their attitude, their loyalty, and their bravery. If there was ever anyone to root for, it was these folks!
What I Didn't Like: Where were all the likeable guys? There is supposed to be some romance, and even Elisa begins to learn of romance and love as the story goes on, but I didn't much care for the guys in this story. There was one that I did...and then all of a sudden....yeah. Couldn't believe what all went on with that. It was kind of heartbreaking. But I thought by the end of the book there would be one standout guy that we could look forward to getting more of in the next story. But so far, no.
Overall Thoughts: There were parts of this story that I loved. And there were parts of it that I was disappointed in. For a strong female heroine, look no further than Elisa. She really grows up and comes into her own as the story progresses, and she is the brightest spot of the book. The plot is very interesting and has lots of details, with only a few holes left open. There is great adventure and smart strategy going on and I really appreciated the intellect of the characters. I still wished that I'd felt like there was a stand-out male MC, but there is still time for that in this trilogy! The next book, The Crown of Embers, is set to release on September 18th, 2012 from Greenwillow Books. I've already added it to my TBR!