Synopsis: 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.
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It took me so long to pick this book up! I’ve been hearing incredible things about it for over a year and yet somehow, I’ve always put it aside when picking what to read. While I was expecting this to be a solid YA fantasy novel, I have to say that it surpassed all of my expectations.
There were several aspects of this story that really stayed with me. Specific things that made this book different and unique and which -in my opinion- should be featured in more books. First of all, the main character’s physical appearance. For once, we have a heroine who doesn’t look like a model. You know what I mean! In so many novels -no matter which genre it is- the female main character is tall, slim with beautiful hair, striking eyes and gorgeous face. The girls that would make people stare when they pass by on the street. And let’s be honest, most actual people are NOT models. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be beautiful either or heroines. I’m going to stop talking about this now because I have a feeling I’ll go on for ages. What I am trying to say is that the main character’s appearance isn’t flawless. She sees herself as overweight and attractive -something other people comment on as well, how RUDE- and she feels incapable of fulfilling her destiny.
The second aspect I enjoyed a lot was that the culture and world in this book was -I think- influenced a lot by Spanish or South-American cultures and languages. I absolutely loved it! It’s just so different than most other books and it honestly made me happy to read about. It’s most noticeable in the names of characters, cities and the languages they refer to!
Let’s talk about the characters for a bit. First we have Lucero-Elisa, who actually just goes by Elisa, our main character. Elisa was chosen at her baptism by God. Every century, one person gets chosen to fulfill some great destiny. Each of them were gifted a godstone which is a sort of jewel that’s lodged in her belly button. What’s special about this stone however is that it sort of lives? It warms when Elisa prays and turns ice cold when she is in danger. Isn’t that fascinating? I absolutely loved learning about it! Elisa is very insecure. She doesn’t believe that she’ll be able to fulfill the destiny meant for her by the godstone. She feels lesser than her older sister, who will become queen later on, and has quite some trouble with her self-confidence and appearance. It made her feel so real to me. I struggle with most of the same things -aside of course from the destiny given by God- and it was so refreshing to read about. While she is very insecure, she turns into such a heroine! Her character development throughout this book is phenomenal. But still believable. It’s not like she was an insecure princess who is a little bit overweight one day, and a confident woman the next. Her journey is long and very hard on her but she grows so much because of it. I adored her.
The next character I want to talk about is King Alejandro de Vega. I do not like you. I really don’t. When I was first introduced to him, I thought he was so kind and he seemed like a good king. I won’t tell you too much about him because it’s sort of a spoiler but just know that for most of the book I was disappointed in him. Not in the way the author wrote him, that was brilliant, but in the person he was. There was another character that I absolutely loved, he is probably my second-favorite character of the book. I won’t tell you about that person though, because major spoiler alert. And Elisa’s family, while not very prominent in the story, is quite interesting as well. There’s her sister, who Elisa feels disconnected with and her father, who loves her but is the kind of man that doesn’t really show it. There are so many more important characters but I obviously can’t talk about all of them.
Then there was the religion. This book definitely focused on that because of Elisa and her godstone. But even this aspect was very well thought out. We sort of get to discover more about it along with Elisa. There are different ideologies in the different countries with respect to the bearer of the godstone and I just loved it. Every little aspect of this book was intriguing in my opinion.
The plot of this book was, like Bilbo Baggins would have said “an unexpected journey”. When I started this book, I didn’t know it would encompass so much! It was so intricate. Elisa really had an adventure. So much happened -like this book breaking my heart- and it was incredible to read about.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend this book. It’s a YA fantasy with many different aspects to it and a captivating journey. I will continue on with the trilogy, I just need to know what will happen next!