At first I wasn’t going to say anything. But the more I think about it the more I realize that while I did not not like Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy I didn’t like it either. And I’m interested in thinking through why it didn’t work for me.
The first book was the best. The heroine’s development feels true and in commensuration with the challenges she faces. In books 2 and 3 by contrast, some of the major “battle” scenes are too tame—they lack the scope of imagination that one comes to expect after reading the first book in the trilogy. Not only that but also the heroine’s triumph in those scenes feels too contrived, and quick. Overall those scenes, that one would expect would help in the development and the rounding out of the heroine, did not register with me as events of great import. As a consequence Elisa (the heroine) never felt like a fully fleshed out character.
[SPOILER: HIGHLIGHT TO REVEAL] At the end of the third book Elisa’s godstone rolls off her navel and this was such an obvious attempt to make her view all her earlier actions as things she did of her own volition, to help bolster her self-confidence, that I felt disappointed. I wish Miss Carson would have come up with other ways of achieving this. Moreover, the rolling off raised questions about the earlier plot resolutions that Miss Carson had affected and that featured the godstone heavily.
Also, the romance arc in the 2nd and 3rd books is irritating. Neither the heroine nor her love interest were developed well enough for me to be emotionally vested in their relationship. I will give Miss Carson full marks for effort for her first trilogy but I’d suggest that you wait for her later books. In the meanwhile, I would rather recommend Guy Gavirel Kay, another author whose stories failed to engage me emotionally but an author whose characters and plots have a satisfying depth to them.