This may already be obvious, but when I love something, I tend to really love it, and talk about it a lot. Which is why you’ll often see me mention the same authors or books several times – it’s not really conscious, I just can’t help myself. So I thought I’d try doing a few posts explaining why I love these particular authors or books (or characters or movies or TV shows or whatevers) so much. I’m not promising I will stop referencing them, but maybe it’ll get them out of my system just a little bit.
Today, I thought I’d start with one of the worst offenders, The Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson. I believe I’ve included this book in at least two or three lists and personally recommended it to at least a few people. There’s so much good about it that I can’t possibly write about it all in one short blog entry. But I’ll try!So just why do I love this series so much?
Because Elisa is wicked cool and strong without it being all about physical strength – Look, I love Katniss, Tris, and a good workout as much as the next person. But both Katniss and Tris rely a lot on their physical prowess and strength to survive, to win, to accomplish their goals. It’s wonderful to see a different type of heroine. Elisa reminds me of Hermione a little bit in her book-smartness, but she’s got something else going too. Although it takes her a while to realize it and let this skill flourish, Elisa also has people-smarts. She understands people, including how to manipulate them, and she uses this. She’s not physically weak – very early on in the first book, she kills a man to protect someone – but she is much more reliant on her mental and emotional abilities than her physical ones.
Because Hector! – I hope I’m not spoiling too much when I say that Hector becomes a big character in this series, even moreso after the first book. And he is wonderful. It’s so great to see a fascinating, complicated, attractive male character who does all this without being “bad” in any way shape or form. It would be so easy to make Hector interesting by giving him a much darker side than he really has. It would also be really easy for Hector, since he is so freaking good, to be extremely boring. But Carson does a masterful job of creating a complex, complicated and charming character without making him bad or boring.
Because Elisa is not even close to thin, and that’s okay – And – Elisa never gets skinny. It’s just so dang refreshing to read about. Granted, at the start of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa has an unhealthy relationship with food. She eats when she’s not hungry, she eats as comfort, as protection. She eats without thinking about it, often to the point of discomfort. She is dominated by her food cravings. BUT – never once is her weight the problem. Only her relationship with food. And when – minor spoiler – she has no choice but to eat less and exercise more, she is still not skinny. Yes, she loses some weight. Yes, she breaks her unhealthy food cycles. Yes, she gains muscle and physical strength. But she’s never going to be a skinny girl – which doesn’t make her any less of an amazing heroine, doesn’t make her any less attractive to people who matter, and doesn’t stop her from enjoying the heck out of some really delicious honey cakes.
Add on top of all these things some really outstanding world-building and character development, and I just can’t think of any reason not to love The Girl of Fire and Thorns series. Don’t believe me? Read it yourself and find out!