The minute I asked North Fork’s Sarah-the-Wonder-Librarian for Latin@ children’s books, she rushed to the fantasy shelves and pulled The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. After reading the first lines in which sixteen-year-old Princess Elisa prays frantically for her chosen husband to be old, fat and ugly(!) I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished the final page.
This is the intriguing tale of a chosen one who happens to be a princess with such a muddled self image as to pray for an unattractive husband. Filled with magic, romance and derring-do, Fire and Thorns seems an allegory not unlike The Chronicles of Narna, but for Catholics rather than Protestants. The images of faith mirror the passion, mystery and mysticism of Catholicism with the exception of Elisa’s somewhat startling conclusion on page 411, I didn’t need faith in God so much as I needed faith in myself . . . perhaps an editorial addition that doesn’t reflect the majority of Carson’s thought. Elisa does learn to have faith in herself as God’s chosen which she acquires along with the tools of self discipline and maturity in her faith. The Hispanic touches in costume and architecture are subtle and exquisite. Would I recommend this book? I’ve ordered the next two in Rae Carson’s series and can’t wait til they come!