First Impression:I have had this book on my shelf for a few months. Like most books, I have really been meaning to get around to it, but it just never felt like the right time. Then, almost if by fate, I came across a review talking about the main character and her weight issues. Honestly, I had no idea the MC was suppose to have weight issues, so my interest was piqued. While Reading:There has always been something about books like those of Tamora Pierce and Maria Synder that just click with me. The characters. The epicness of the tale. The richness and engrossing plot. And while I hoped to enjoy The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I never expected to find these qualities here.Elisa has grown up knowing that she was special. As a baby, she was marked for greatness by the gemstone in her navel. This gemstone signifies that she is favored by God and will accomplish something spectacular. But having grown up in her older sisters shadow, Elisa isn't sure how she will ever live up to the expectations. When she is promised in marriage to a neighboring King, Elisa's life is about to change forever. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is essentially divided into two parts, with Elisa undergoing a massive transformation during the process. While I loved both versions of Elisa. (Minus all the weight mentions. It was EVERYWHERE! After a few pages of this, I really wanted to yell at the book that I got the point.) The "after" version was just made of so much more awesomeness. Elisa, the timid girl of the first half of the novel complete disappears. Transforming her into a heroine that I will always remember fondly. A strong, confident, take charge kind of heroine that I adore.Final Verdict:To say I adored this book is putting it mildly. The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a completely surprising book from beginning to end. I loved Elisa and all her supporting characters. And the romance... wow. That went in a completely different direction than what I expected. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is the exciting start to what I hope will be an amazing series.