The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Book #1 of the Fire and Thorns Series
By: Rae Carson
Summary. Elisa is the youngest daughter of the King of Oravalle. She is over-weight and isn’t good with people. She uses eating as a way to escape her problems. Her older sister is thin, beautiful, and regal. That is why Elisa is shocked when she is the one who King Alejandro of Joya d’Arena wants to marry, but Elisa has a special gift from God and the people of Oravalle know of it. On the day of Elisa’s christening, she was chosen by God to be the bearer of the Godstone. The Godstone is a magical jewel that is embedded in Elisa’s navel. Once every four generations God chooses someone to bear the Godstone. The bearer is destined to complete a great act, though what that act is, is uncertain; many of the bearers died before they were able to complete their act of greatness.
The story starts out on Elisa’s wedding day; she is to be wed to King Alejandro. Elisa is scared out of her mind to be marrying a man that she has never met. Since Elisa is large, and in her mind unattractive, she wishes with all of her heart that King Alejandro is ugly as well. To her disappointment, he is a beautiful man. The morning after her wedding King Alejandro, Elisa, and her attendants—Ximena and Aneaxi—leave Oravalle to journey to Joya d’Arena.
On the road to Joya d’Arena, the Perditos, a group of savages, attack the royal caravan. . As soon as one of the Perditos senses the godstone, Ximena kills him with merely a bobby pin. Elisa realizes there may be more to her frumpy old nurse then she previously thought. Several of the King’s men die and Elisa’s lady-on-waiting, Aneaxi, is mildly injured, but the caravan continues on towards Joya d’Arena. As they continue, Aneaxi’s health deteriorates and she passes away due to an infection.
Once in Joya d’Arena, Elisa realized that she will not be living the dream life of “Wife to the King”. King Alejandro has forbidden her to tell anyone about their marriage, and the King almost immediately leaves on a long trip with Condesa Ariña, the beautiful daughter of Conde Treviño. Condesa Ariña’s servant Cosmé becomes Elisa’s new lady-in-waiting. She is a hard girl with a bad attitude, and Elisa doesn’t trust her as far as she can throw her.
Not everything is bad for Elisa in Joy d’Arena. She because closer to Ximena and makes friends with the cook and Father Nicandro, the priest. Father Nicandro teaches Elisa much about her Godstone and the spiritual text. Life’s not perfect, but it’s not bad until Elisa wakes up in the desert with her kidnappers.