Author: Rae Carson
Published: September 20th 2011 by Greenwillow Books
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.
I Give This ...
I'm really not sure what stopped me from reading this sooner. Which is sad, because hidden within the cover is a truly good book. It combined the elements of fantasy, magic, and even had a fairy tale feel too. Some of my favorite elements of a story as of late.
I actually loved the way Elisa is presented to us. She's the complete opposite of any princess heroine I've ever seen. I wondered how much of it was her own insecurities about herself, but I learned that she basically was a fat and unattractive princess (hey, it happens). I wondered how her life might have been different if she wasn't a chosen one. I liked how being seen this way has put a different sort of expectation on her. She doesn't behave the way you would think a princess should. But, she also can command a room when she wants to.
I thought the story of the chosen ones was really interesting. I would love to learn more about past chosen ones. I feel like we've barely touched the surface of this phenomenon. I was also really intrigued by the jewel that was placed in her navel when she was chosen (although, I do admit I thought what happens with it in the end was a little cheesy.) It seems to have a life of it's own and I liked how Elisa could detect moods, etc but what the jewel was doing at that moment.
The actions in this book is great. I really enjoyed the landscape we get to witness in the story. For as many location changes as we go through, it never feels like too much. And I felt I got an adequate understanding of the makeup of this make believe world. The characters cover a wide range of social hierarchy, which I think lends an interesting scope to the story. We learn so much for the king who can't defend his country to the poor who are struggling to keep their lands and lively hood safe. It's an impressive feet.
I probably would have given a 5 if the ending hadn't felt like a little bit of a letdown. I was expecting Elisa to have this awesome magical power within her to conquer the evil that was hunting her. And in away this did happen, just not in the way I had hoped. I'll live though, and will definitely continue on with the series!