On Fantasy Novels Read While Growing Up: A Guest Post by Rae Carson

Today, lovely readers, I have a special treat for you! Rae Carson, author of The Girl Of Fire And Thorns, one of my favorite debut novels this year, is taking over to talk about fantasy novels and their influence on The Girl Of Fire And Thorns.


Rae Carson, Girl Of Fire And Thorns

Rae Carson and her book! YAY!

I loved fantasy novels growing up. Some favorite authors when I was a teen were David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, anyone with the middle initials “R.R.”… You name it, I probably read it.


But as I got older, the common tropes of fantasy began to feel flat. For instance: The Chosen One, the Amulet of Power, the Epic Journey, the Beautiful Princess (most often with green eyes and red hair). There are reasons these conventions of fantasy sing to us, but I started asking myself things like: What if the chosen one was not just a few swordsmanship lessons away from heroism? What if the princess was not beautiful? What if the Amulet of Power was kind of… lame? So I decided to write a novel that subverted these tropes as much as possible.


It also occurred to me that if a pampered royal (or farm boy, or servant girl) who had never been particularly active suddenly embarked on an arduous journey, there would be profound physical consequences. I’d read so many books where, after a day or two of half-heartedly described soreness, our intrepid hero becomes travel-toughened and fit. I’ve been active my whole life: backpacking, competitive cheerleading, football, and I knew the two-day transformation was simply not feasible. If I was going to twist this convention, I knew I’d get the most illustrative bang for my narrative buck with an overweight protagonist.


Once I thought of it, I couldn’t get it out of my head! But as the plot took form, it became less and less about the subversion of tropes and more about a character with an unhealthy self-esteem, drowning in a morass of expectations. I’ve met so many teens over the years with self-esteem issues, particularly related to body image, and their resilience, courage and determination have always amazed me. I wanted to explore the idea that someone who viewed herself as imperfect could still choose to become extraordinary—just like so many teens I’ve known.


And this helped me subvert the most common fantasy convention of them all. Because I’ve seen enough personal transformations to understand that specialness comes not from being Chosen, but from choosing.

Rae’s Fantasy Recommendations: David Eddings’ The Belgariad (This is a favorite of teenaged boys everywhere, but the women in it are pretty kickass), Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and Fire, Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series, Robin McKinley’s Deerskin (too edgy for some, but it definitely subverts  fantasy conventions!)

Clearly, Rae has awesome taste.

Catch the rest of the blog tour here:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns Launch Party and Signing

Tuesday, September 20th
6:30 PM
Cover to Cover Bookstore
3560 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43214


The Girl of Fire and Thorns Blog Tour

Sept 12- http://bookalicio.us/
Sept 13 – http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/
Sept 14 – Me!
Sept 15 – http://blog.missliterati.com/
Sept 16 – http://girlsinthestacks.com/
Sept 19 – http://mykeepershelf.blogspot.com/
Sept 20 – http://www.pureimaginationblog.com/
Sept 21 – http://theallureofbooks.com/
Sept 22 – http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/
Sept 23 – http://bendingthespine.blogspot.com/
Sept 26 – http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Thank you for sharing this great guest post! I am so glad that Rae made Elissa such a real and relatable protagonist. Not everyone is a Katsa or Katniss Everdeen 🙂

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