See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten!Getting married at the age of sixteen to a handsome yet indecisive king is not something Elisa wants, but it is her duty as a princess and possibly something she must do to perform her act of service. As the bearer of the Godstone, a person chosen only once every century, she is expected to do something great for her people, but Elisa only sees herself as a failure of a woman. Then as soon as her husband finally begins to accept her, she is kidnapped and taken to the far reaches of her new country. The people there believe she is the savior they need, and she is ready to step up to the plate and do what is needed of her. Unless she dies young the way most bearers do, of course.Well-paced and well-plotted, The Girl of Fire and Thorns was rarely a dull read. If I had to pick a favorite scene, it would likely be the scene in which Elisa's guardian Ximena kills a main with a hairpin. A hairpin. That is straight up awesome and I would like to learn how to do that, please. Readers who like or loathe their fantasy with religious influence will find it here and it plays into the story well without being overbearing or preachy to the reader. The idea of everyone, even the "evil" side, feeling it is God's will they do what they do was nothing new, but it did give me some food for thought.Elisa is one of the more unique heroines I've seen in recent memory not only because she's overweight (for about 1/3 of the book) and a POC character, but also because she has so many layers to her. The kind of pressure she faces is immense and it gets to her a few times, but she learns to handle it well even when it caused her some pain (and turned her into a little bit of a Mary Sue, but whatever). For a princess in a fictional fantasy world, she feels real, especially when she engages in as familiar a behavior as overeating. I can come up with a few psychological explanations for why she eats the way she does, but she never dwells on the reasons or explicitly states why she does it. I was surprised more than a few times over the course of the book. There's a certain sense of complacency I've developed with YA fiction; there are certain tricks and events I feel sure authors won't include in their books because the truth is that 99.9999999% of them wouldn't do it. Apparently, it's too risky. This is one of the minuscule percentage of books that would did it without worrying about how it might anger the fans or be too risky. This attempt to go against the grain and stand out worked well because I won't be forgetting about it anytime soon.Still, if I had to come up with something to compare this book to, it would be bubble gum. I very rarely buy or chew bubble gum, but I devour it monstrously when I do. The only way I'll stop shoving more into my mouth is if someone stops me or I run out of gum. Once I've stopped chewing gum, I have no motivation to get more and start all over. A while later, I'll see more gum and think, "Oh, why not? Let's get some." Lather, rinse, repeat. This method of cramming a lot in when I have it but feeling no motivation to get back to it once I've stopped is exactly what happened with TGoFaT.The book flaunts a few rookie weaknesses. It tended to tell me what a character was like instead of showing me so I could reach that conclusion on my own. The placement of Elisa's grand character growth after her dramatic weight loss carries a few unfortunate implications. Then at one point early in the novel, Elisa is given three Godstones that are obvious plot points for later in the novel. I found the way the book brought them up, literally buried them, and brought them back when it was time to use them to be a little lazy.TGoFaT could have been stronger is numerous areas, but I am certain it can and will improve on those weaknesses. With the way it ended, closing one major character arc of Elisa's and hinting at more to come, I am hooked for the sequel Crown of Thorns when it comes out in September 2012. None of my friends can reach a general consensus about this book (our thoughts fall all across the spectrum), so my only advice it to take a leap of faith and try it out. This book would have four stars if the weaknesses didn't distract me so.