Friday, May 10, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
By Rae Carson

Elisa is a princess and a chosen one. That is, when she was born, a light shone on her and a beautiful stone appeared in her belly button. She was claimed as a person who had a particular purpose for her life. Now she is being married to a King and sent to live far from the home where she has been particularly spoiled and pampered. In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa tries to discover what God wants from her, what her family has been hiding from her, and why she in particular is a chosen one.

I suppose that introduction is kind of strange but, as a teen fantasy, this book is very well written. I really felt for Elisa and enjoyed watching her grow as well as watching her get smaller (she was very fat at the beginning of the book). I liked that her character was not a cardboard replica of all the other teen heroines in several popular books that I have read recently. Elisa seems to be a decent person.

The belly button thing does sound weird when taken out of context of the book!

What did this book have to do with my faith? God -- or at least a form of God -- is worshipped in this book. What I found interesting is the understanding of suffering for God that Carson has developed here. During their worship, there is a time of sacrament when individuals can go up to the priest during the service and ask for something while holding a rose whose thorns cause the person to bleed. Then the person moves to another priest who wipes their hands. The idea is connected with suffering or bleeding for the savior. Also, during the entire book Elisa thinks of herself as having to serve and suffer in order to carry out God's plan for her life. When bad things happen to her and those around her, she thinks this is now her purpose. Must I suffer for God's sake? Is God's purpose for my life for me to suffer? Certainly, there is the idea of service but must it be one of suffering? I suppose I could have studied the theme of the suffering God more in seminary but it is fairly depressing. Do you think you have to suffer to serve God and God's purpose for your life?

I highly recommend this book.

Happy reading!


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