Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.
Intended Age-Group: 13-17 (I think it's just best to say 13+. I'm 26 and loved it)
Issues of Violence: action violence, murder, mutilation, intense situations, magic violence.
Intimacy Level: questions of intimacy in marriage. Mild kissing.
Language: none that I noticed.
Recommendation: yes, 5 out of 5 stars. Woohoo!
New. Favorite. Author.
Back Cover Blurb:
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, and 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 her to be 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.
Initial Reaction: *****
The first paragraph instantly intrigued me. Elisa has spent the whole day praying that her future husband--whom she'd be marrying that very day--would be ugly, fat, and old. What girl prays for this? I needed to know. So I read on.
I love Elisa's character, mainly because she's not afraid to say things. Well, perhaps she was occasionally afraid to speak her mind and ask the tough questions, but she did it anyway, which is even more admirable. I love watching her grow into a queen and how her history of studies and the influence of her sister affected her thinking. Only 100 pages in, I admired her and rooted for her. I understood her desires and her duty.
The story constantly kept me gasping. I wasn't on the edge of my seat the whole time, though. Sometimes the story started to plod along like the loveable camels in its pages, but just as I started a yawn and thought, "Hm...one more chapter of this and I might be bored," a big shocker or plot turn or action scene would come up. Though I reached the edge a few times, I never actually got bored. That's really the only complaint (if you can call it that) I have. Also, please keep in mind there is also strong and high violence in this book. The plot is centered around a war.
Spiritual Aspect: *****
The spiritual aspect of the book was actually a little confusing. At first, I thought it was Christian, but some things just never connected. Elisa has what's called a Godstone in her belly--something God placed there since birth to show He's called her to a great duty. Sometimes it turns cold to warn her of things and when she prays it often turns warm.
Elisa was privileged to be one to communicate with God, which tells me the other people didn't have direct access to God. That doesn't align with what the Bible says, which led me to think maybe this was just a type of religion created solely for the book's sake.
The "church" of this religion involved sacrament, which meant pricking oneself for blood on the thorn of a rose in order to plead something from God.
All in all, it had similarities to the beliefs I hold from the Bible, but it always felt fictitious. None of it fully aligned, so I would call it a piece of fiction. Still, I took from it a growing urge to pray more. :) Thanks Elisa!
Overall Recommendation: *****
This book was fantastic. The fictitious world Carson created was so unique and original. It brought a feel of newness and travel that very few other books ever bring me. As the sandy desert land grew on Elisa, it slowly grew on me (and I don't like deserts.)
I would summarize this book in one word: growth.
Growth of leadership, of character, of kings, of plot, of culture...all growth and discovery. This is a great foundation for the first book in a series. I loved this story and (as this is written after I've finished the series), I adore the series as well and highly recommend it with five stars in my eyes.
Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, released September 2014 from Enclave Publishing. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at http://nadinebrandes.com.