Before I get into the book review, I want to discuss the book covers. This is the cover that is on my Advance Reader's Copy.
It's pretty! I liked it.........until I read the book. What in the world were they thinking?!!! This story is about a dark skinned(think Middle Eastern) girl who is heavyset. Her beauty is more within than out. It takes place mostly in the desert, and it's in a time and place where arranged marriages are normal at the age of 16. On this cover we have a pretty, pale skinned, skinny girl who looks like she's at a beach party. It looks like an ocean maybe in the background?! I think this may be the first cover that's ever made me angry! :)
Apparently, I'm not the only one who had these thoughts, though. If you go to the Amazon page, you will see this cover.
It's a little better, but I think we still have the same girl on the cover that isn't in the book.
While I was browsing at the author's site, I saw this cover from an overseas version.
Beautiful!!! I love it! It fits perfectly with the story, and the artist actually read the book, or at least put some thought into it! I very much want to replace my copy, just so I can have that beautiful cover that actually fits the story.
Ok. On to the review now!
If you want the short and sweet review....This is a must read! It's definitely a keeper!
I'll tell you first what I didn't like about the story, and knock that out of the way. One of the characters is married, but she falls in love with another guy and they kiss.(That's all that happens sexually speaking, by the way, in the whole book-and that's not a complaint!) I admit, it did add an interesting and unexpected twist to the story, but I still wish that part wasn't in there. That about covers my dislikes, though.
I don't know if the author had intentions of creating a story full of religious symbolism, but I took a great deal away from reading! I didn't necessarily agree with everything that I interpreted, but I did enjoy all the little lessons I took away. That said, this isn't a Christian book, so it can be enjoyed whether you like it or not. There is a god in this book, but he's not mine. It's fantasy, so again, lots of symbolism.
Elise is the heroine of the story, and she's definitely one of my favorites ever! Rae has created such an admirable character. (minus what I mentioned earlier). I love how she reacted to criticism and being called names. She didn't resort to being mean, or insult someone else. She reacted with dignity. She was very real! She ate her feelings, and had doubts about many things. At the same time, she's strong. I love that Rae made her character "heavyset". It's so unrealistic for young girls to constantly read about perfect girls!
I just can't say enough about this book! Read it! I was immediately drawn into the story, and I didn't want to put it down. I hate that I have to wait another year to read the next installment! The ending isn't a cliffhanger, but you know there's more to the story. It's definitely not tied up in a big bow!
Was it clean?
There was no profanity. The "b" word for a child without a father is used. (I hope I'm not mixing up one of my other reads with this one!) It is used in that context, though. I've saw this word in lots of Christian books and otherwise clean books, so I assume it's not profanity. I still don't like it, though.
God's name is used in vain. (not with profanity) Oh, my ***. Thank ***.
There's lots of violence. It is about a war. Don't let that word "war" keep you from it, though. I'd have probably skipped over reading it if I had saw that word.
The main character gets married at the first of the book. Nothing happens, but there are some references.
I consider this book very clean, but probably best for a more mature young adult audience. I won't place an age on it, because age doesn't determine maturity. :)