Elisa is a princess and she is also the bearer of a godstone—a stone with magical properties found in the navel of a chosen bearer once every 100 years. To keep her secret safe, Elisa's father arranges a marriage to a king in a distant land. Although Elisa has never met him and knows little of him, she marries the kind King Alejandro. Shortly thereafter, Elisa is kidnapped by rebels who are fighting their own civil war at home with powerful mystics murdering citizens without consequence. On the journey to the home of the rebels, Elisa befriends her enemies and comes to a new understanding of her newly acquired subjects’ lives.
I am a person who doesn't remember something I read two years ago. My brain soaks up a text in the moment, I enjoy it, and then it is usually gone. Yet, even though I read the final installment of The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy (The Bitter Kingdom) a few years ago, I'm still thinking about it. Carson's world is built around Spanish names and traditions laced with magic and belief. It's very different from anything I've read recently, and, while it will appeal to lovers of dystopia, this world has not reached that critical level of society lost.
Rae Carson is the George R.R. Martin of Teen writers. She builds her world with a fascinating clarity, gives her characters great depth and lets them grow—which I find to be rare in Teen fiction—and she isn't afraid to kill her darlings. I think that's what made this series so special for me—it's different from the other Teen series with love triangles (yes, there's still a bit of that here). Recommended for adult and teen readers who enjoy fantasy, magic, world-building, or Young Adult (Teen) books. If you like George R.R. Martin-lite or Kristin Cashore, this may be your next great read.