by Rae Carson
Library (I couldn’t let is sit on the shelf as I walked by)
Holy smokes I had a good time reading this book. Elisa (yes, I had to read about a protagonist with the same name as mine) was a lovely heroine. She is the chosen one, the one chosen by God every 100 years. She is a princess but knows little except for a few things she knows really well. She hates her sister because she thinks her sister hates her, and feels a burden to her and her father. So she eats.
She is married off to Alejandro, the king of the neighboring country and has to start defending herself right away, but not in ways you might think. This story is about a girl who becomes her true potential, who takes chances, learns about herself and the world around her and finds a core of strength, and love.
This is my favorite type of story. The heroine is book smart, feels useless and lame next to her family members and basically thinks she lives under the radar. She doesn’t know what the heck is going on. So we don’t either. But as she figures things out, the reader does as well. We learn as she grows into the kick-ass girl she is supposed to be and her heartbreak is ours.
The romance is sweet and I loved the guy who was sweet on her. She is only 16 when married off and her defense is to eat and hide behind her fat so she is awkward in romance, but she figures things out well enough, though everything is pretty PG.
What is not PG is the violence. They are at war and the violence, once it starts doesn’t end easily. There are some awful, heartbreaking things. I am really looking forward to the next book to find out why some of these things had to happen though! Argh.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. The world is pretty well flushed out, there are bad guys galore, Elisa comes into her own to become a force to be reckoned with…it is a lovely transformation because while her outter self does change as well, it is the inner self that is the most beautiful. Honestly, this is another one that is in my genre sweet spot, a Tamora Pierce-like heroine and a world torn asunder, I give it 4.5 jeweled stars, fit inside a necklace pendant that shoots fire.