Goodreads: 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.
First off, the UK cover (far right) has the most accurate cover because Elisa is a POC, not some white Lana Del Rey looking girl.
This exceeded expectations! I’ve had this book on my Kindle for at least three years and regret not reading it sooner! If you’re a US resident, the ebook is currently $1.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Elisa is married off on her sixteenth birthday to Alejandro for her protection, and because he thinks it will benefit his country during the war. (I hope Lady Gaga’s song doesn’t play in your head when you read his name like it did in mine.) After a month or so at her new home— where Alejandro doesn’t want to say she’s his wife *cue frustration*— she is kidnapped by rebels who trek her through the desert.
I was engrossed in the story from the first page and had a hard time putting my Kindle down. If you’re tired of whites dominating the fantasy genre and want to read about a POC in a Spanish (and Moroccan, slightly?) influenced fantasy world, this is for you!
Elisa has a blue gemstone embedded in her stomach (like Steven Universe haha) that gives her signs from God. I will admit, it’s a bit weird, and there’s a part where she tries to dig the stone out with a knife that gave me the heebie jeebies. Bleh.
The religion (monotheistic and similar to Catholicism, like most fantasy religions) in this world is very essential to the plot, so if you don’t like reading about religion, steer clear of this because it’s brought up frequently.
Not only is Elisa a POC, but she’s overweight. At first I was annoyed with her constantly mentioning her weight/size and people belittling her for it, but that stopped after a while. Food descriptions also stopped. Thank goodness, because they were making me hungry.
Elisa goes through some amazing character development from thinking she’s ugly, fat, and useless, to being really awesome, strong, and confident.
I really can’t talk about anything else without spoiling the book, but I congratulate Rae Carson for not being afraid to kill of characters. You savage.