So. This series is what started my current hang-up on lady hero fantasy novels.
Elisa is a princess in her home of Orovalle, but being the younger sister she is not in line for the throne. Bearer of the Godstone, she is a chosen one, destined to perform some great act of service. When she turns 16, her father marries her off to the king of Joya de Areña and Elisa is forced to leave her spoiled, sheltered life. As queen, Elisa is thrust into the middle of a sticky political situation and a war brewing at the borders of her country. She is forced to step up and defend her new homeland from the Inviernos who threaten to destroy her people and her way of life, a duty she is not prepared for and which will require her to grow and find strength within herself.
The first book of this series was tough for me. Elisa is still coming into her own and isn’t very likeable. And there is a whole lot of slow and boring set-up going on. But once the action started picking up, I had to know how the political situation would turn out. The second two books were much better, as Elisa starts to become more confident in herself and her ruling abilities. What I love most about this series is how Elisa changes and grows and goes through many trials to become a queen worthy of ruling her people. And she does it on her own, without divine intervention, without special powers (though she has them). And best of all, her strengths are her brains and her faith and her willingness to accept challenges and sometimes be wrong. There was also plenty of action and political intrigue and world-building to keep things interesting, too. Oh and also some romance, though I would say it takes a backseat (in my mind at least) to Elisa’s journey to prove herself and save her country and way of life. Elisa has a big heart and is loyal to a fault, but also must shoulder heavy, life-threatening decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed following along on her journey, despite getting off to a rough start with the series. These books have motivated me to try some other fantasy that follows along in the same mold.