Girl of Fire and Thorns Review

So the first book in this year’s family book club was The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. It is a young adult political fantasy set in a Latin American inspired world. One nice thing about this is that it doesn’t just claim to be Latin American inspired there it is s a constant presence in the language, religion, landscape, etc. It follows a young princess, Elisa, who is married off to the widowed king, Alejandro of Joya d’Arena to secure a military alliance. Matters are slightly complicated as Elisa is the Bearer of the Godstone. Once every four generations a light from the heavens grants a blue stone into the navel of a child.

I personally love religion in fantasy novels it’s an automatic buy-in. I think there is so much room to explore, especially when this world where a divine entities existence is unquestionable there are still questions. There are still sects and religious zealots. Carson handles the religion with respect but also the nuance and diversity that an accurate representation requires.

Obviously this book takes place during wartime. As someone who studied political science (focusing in war and genocide), I find any representation of such to be normally lackluster or too brutal. I think Carson tried hard to show the horrors while keeping it Young Adult (more age appropriate/ innuendo instead of description). The opponents in this war are the Irvierne. They are evil and called heretics. My mom and I are in a heated debate about whether they are supposed to be savages or European colonizers. Both work incredibly well in the world and it’s inspiration.

The characters are well fleshed out. While the characters still have their mysteries and more to explore this the beginning of a trilogy. They are multi-dimensional. A vastly intelligent character can have an unhealthy relationship with food. The protector is vengeful. The cowardly wield immense power. Elisa is my favorite Slytherin main character. Hand-to what ever you believe in she is what Salazar Slytherin had in mind when founding his house. All the relationships that develop (romantic, platonic, familial) are rooted so deeply in common purpose, shared interest, a need for attention from anyone, etc. No motivation, word, tear, feels misplaced or put there to move along the plot. It all feels true.

I highly recommend this book if you are interested in military or religious fantasy. Or if you just like reading for me this was a 5 star read.

Below are my favorite quotes from the book and a discussion question. (Obviously spoilers) Continue reading “Girl of Fire and Thorns Review”

2019 Resolutions

As always resolutions are hard to keep. Here are some of the goals that I am working towards this year. Some I am trying (and occasionally failing) every day, week, month and not just one overall theme for the year.

Reading Goals:

  • Read 100 books in the calendar year
    • My goal is to read more historical fiction but even reading 5 would be more for me
  • Reduce the books I own that I haven’t read by half (either read or get rid of)
  • Read 10 books that come out this year. Thank you new library system!
  • Complete 6 book series

Writing Goals:

  • Write 20 minutes a day
  • More public writing, either sharing this blog more or entering writing competitions
  • Minimum three blog posts a month
    • One of these will be a book review for the my family book club

Health Goals:

  • 5 glasses of water or tea everyday
  • One meatless day a week (you don’t know me like that but for me this is a huge deal)
  • No buys pre-desserts from the grocery store except special occasions ie holidays, anniversaries, etc.

Career Goals:

  • Get a job!
  • Start attending networking events in my new location
  • One public speaking event/engagement

Life Goals:

  • Build credit score
  • Visit three new places
  • Support my best friend at her wedding this spring
  • Learn two new recipes a month

Top 18 books of 2018

I read approximately 140 books this past year. It was awesome I was so lucky to get to have the time and access to so much reading! I read some incredible books that I want to share, yes most are fantasy and most are female authored but that’s what I read.

I want to keep this short and sweet so I am going to keep my “Why I FREAKING loved it” to 10 words or less per book.

To be honest some slots have more than one book by the same author (Don’t judge I really like books and it’s hard to pick more) So without further ado here are the best books I read this past year.

18. The Mines of the Minotaur by Julia Golding

  • Complex environmental discussion with mythical beasts. Minotaurs. Mental Stability importance.

17. Kings Cage by Victoria Aveyard

  • So many payoff scenes that I’d been waiting for

16. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

  • Hades/Persephone angst/smut. Lots of growth and recovery.

15. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

  • Morally grey. Genius protagonists. So many deaths.

14. The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

  • Nostalgic LBD. Emotional and mental abuse recovery. Recovery isn’t linear.

13. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

  • Reads like a fairy tale. Morally grey characters. Magical Mystery.

12. The Evertree by Marie Lu

  • End of Spirit Animals series. Heartbreaking. Sweet relationships. Great villains.

11. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

  • Dragons. Napoleonic Wars. The sweetest dragons. Dragons.

10. Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi

  • Religion-based magic system. Nigerian world. Quest to save the world!!!

9. Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

  • The ROMANCE! The TRAUMA! Amazing found and discovered families!

8, Trickster’s Duology by Tamora Pierce

  • Gods. Political plots. Spies. Unending love for Aly.

7. The House of Hades or The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

  • My precious, sad children! All the Rick Riordan!

6. The Fatal Throne edited by Candace Fleming

  • Historical fiction. All the Wives! Slightly educational.

5. The Woman Who Rode Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

  • Alanna! My perfect little found family. Also George Cooper.

4. The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irene Brignull

  • Beautiful witch-y writing. Perfectly creepy. Lovely heartbreaking work.

3. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

  • I cried the whole time. Beautiful family novel.

2. Windwitch (all the Witchlands series really) by Susan Denmark

  • Angsty Romance. Political Intrigue. Discovery of unreliable narrator. Owl!

1. Damsel by Elena K. Arnold

  • The most beautiful writing of your life! Dragons! Feminist fantasy.