“Let's cut right to the chase: I loved this book! Rae Carson tells a wonderful story with some unique characters and a hint of sci-fi/fantasy.
Elisa has been entrusted with a Godstone- an honor that comes only once a century but that carries a price. Each bearer is entrusted to complete a task of service. In 'The Girl of Fire and Thorns,' Elisa begins the journey to find out what task (or service) God would have her perform. By the end of this rich and quickly-paced plot, Elisa has completed the task set before her, but we're left wondering if more tasks are ahead. (But then, that's probably the basis of the remaining books in this series, no?)
Elisa's character is well developed by the plot, and at the end of the book the reader has seen her grow--gaining a sense of who she has become and where she is headed. But Elisa isn't the only great character, and Carson does well developing even the minor actors in this novel into relate-able, if not rounded elements of the story.
While the book has a religious undertone to the plot, at no point was it overwhelming. Carson's prose doesn't preach or draw direct analogy to a need for a (certain) faith on the part of her readers. This works well within the plot and gives the book wider appeal, in my opinion, than some works that venture into this schema.
I read the first third of this book before going to bed one night and finished it the following day, which tells you I couldn't put it down. I expect most readers will have the same I-must-know-what-happens reaction. ”