Audible Book Narrator Jennifer Ikeda
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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.
Yes, I finally finished a novel!! I listened to it on audio and I loved it! When this series came out I was hesitant about reading it. I loved the idea of Elisa being heavy set and a heroine. But the more I read the reviews, the more I didn't like what they said. That Elisa didn't become a heroine until she lost weight. I shied away from the series. I have weight issues and it pissed me off to know that only skinny girls could be heroines, even in this book. WRONG!
Here is what I found listening to the novel. Elisa is a heroine right from the start. She is defiant, loyal and thinks like a heroine, even if she doesn't believe in herself right from the start. She has been married off at the age of 16 to a man she has never met and she's worried about what he's going to think of her because of her weight. I know how she feels. Rae Carson does a great job of being in the mind of a girl, overweight or not, that is insecure about her body. Elisa knows she is being judged by her looks, but rather than letting it beat her down, rather than withering under their judgmental glances, Elisa lives up to her title. She is a Queen and she acts it. I can't help but think that if more of us took our flaws as well as Elisa does and treated ourselves as Queens or Kings anyway, then we might all be happier. Elisa never resorts to pitying herself but owns up to having created her weight problem.
Elisa shows extreme bravery and strength throughout the novel. She trudges through the desert even as her legs and heavy body betray her without complaining. She isn't there of her own free will either. Her faith in the Godstone and her God keeps her going. And as her body grows smaller, her belief in herself grows larger but it isn't because of the lost weight. It's because of the strength in her body. In herself.
The story is good, but there is a lot I don't know about the country and the cities. About the different religions. And about the Godstone itself and how it gets inside of someone. What the war is about. I think the stronger story is about Elisa, coming into herself, and her own power, learning how to lead a country and trusting her own judgment. I was very happy with Elisa as a character in this novel and the way she developed.
And the audio--- I really enjoyed the audio narrator. Her voice was soft and young. It got overwrought and excited when needed but for the most part, like Elisa, it remained calm. I really enjoyed her voice, the pacing, the way she changed her voice for different characters. I believed her voice and feelings that came through. I'm glad she continues the narration in the next book as I have it on audio to listen to as well.