Goood morning! I’ve been to the gym already. There is coffee ready and waiting for me to enjoy at my leisure. It’s a beautiful day and, of course, the perfect day to have a little book talk.
As you all may know, I’m a girl. As such, I enjoy reading books with female leads. I like to analyze them, see if they’re believable, and ponder whether they accurately portray what it means to be feminine. You know, the stuff everyone does when they read. Some female leads are weak—they simper, whine, can’t defend themselves, etc. Eww! Others are portrayed as masculine in an effort to make them seem strong. Also Eww! Does a woman have to be masculine to be strong? I say no—but that’s a different post for a different time.
My point in all of this crazy rambling is that the series I’m bringing to you today has a female lead that is one of the best portrayals of strong femininity that I’ve ever read.
The Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson follows Elisa, a girl destined to be queen and chosen as an infant for some unknown deed of greatness. Elisa is overweight, overlooked, and under appreciated. We meet her as she is being wielded as a pawn by her father and married off to a king she’s never met.
On the journey to her new home, Elisa saves her new husband’s life and realizes that there is more surrounding their arranged marriage than she suspected. Plunged into a game of political intrigue, the lines between enemies and friends become blurred and someone has to make a decision. The young queen is that someone.
Elisa rises to every challenge, defends those she loves, conducts herself with honor, and fights like a soldier. In writing this character, Rae Carson never diminishes Elisa’s femininity in an effort to make her “stronger.” Instead, her femininity becomes her greatest strength. She is cunning, wise, unafraid of sacrifice, and never loses her empathy and compassion. In short, she is the kind of girl I’d want my little girl to read about.
This is a fantasy series and I was a bit skeptical at first, but the world Carson created was very believable and she never left me feeling as though she was grasping at straws. I’d recommend this for anyone, high school age and up. Elisa remains one of my favorite protagonists ever.
So read it and let me know what you think. 😉
Who is your favorite fictional heroine?
Have you read these books?