Book Rating: ★★★★★
Cover Rating: ★★★★★
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 20, 2011)
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.
I was drawn into this book immediately, mainly because of the characters and rapid-fire plot. Elisa is one of the most realistic characters I've ever read, especially in the way that she is not beautiful and her flaws are very apparent. Instead of that making me want to set the book down, it did just the opposite. You really see her grow as a character throughout the book, which is something I always have an eye for- I love to see people become stronger. And, I have to say, Rosario (Alejandro's son) is possible the coolest book-kid. Ever.
The rest of the characters in this story are amazingly well-developed, too. You find yourself hating some, loving some, and dancing on the line, and through the whole book you find yourself trying to figure out carious characters. And when something bad happened to one of the major characters, I cried. In public. With big, fat tear streaming down my face and an occasional gasp. One lady asked me if I needed help. I responded frantically with something like, "NO GO HELP THEM. NOW." Alas, I failed. Anyway, what happened was so terrible that it was usually, in other books, something that was solved with an Abra Cadabra or some sort of time machine. In this book, it was raw, it was real, and there was no going back. Every twist of the plot broke your heart a little bit while making your pulse race faster. This book effectively put me on an emotional roller-coaster. And I loved every second of it.
Another great part of this book is the plot. The whole thing keeps you guessing and plotting with Elisa, feeling surprise and betrayal when she does. One of my favorite themes for books is those which involve royalty and high society. In this book, you watch as Elisa goes from frowned-upon princess to highly respected queen.
I've heard some people say that they didn't like that Elisa was so religious and they felt like they were being preached at. But I feel that the religious element of this book is an important piece of the story and it would have been a mistake to have left it out. Religion is a big part of who people are- so when you cut that out of a book, you miss part of the character. I wholly support authors who put religions into their books, even if they know it will be met with a picky public eye.
Overall, a book I think you should read even if it doesn't sound like your thing. It's totally worth the cash you pay for it, and you won't regret spending your time on it, either. I hope you'll give it a try.