Last time on The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa and Rosario toured Brisadulce, Cosmé discovered that Elisa is the Chosen One, Alejandro finally decided to announce his engagement, Ximena explained why Elisa is so valuable to others, and Elisa got chloroformed and kidnapped. Will Elisa discover who kidnapped her? Will she ever make her way back home? Find out after the cut.
Before We Get Any Further…
And suddenly, this book starts to draw a lot of parallels to Dune. For those of you who haven’t read that book, here’s a quick summary: a protagonist of noble lineage moves to a desert planet. He and his mother escape into the desert after a rival family takes over the planet by force. Protagonist is taken in by desert dwellers who think he’s the Chosen One. He discovers his Chosen One powers and eventually returns from the desert to fight against the rival family and the Galactic Emperor. I know, I didn’t mention a lot of the themes or sub-plots in the book, but this is what’s pertinent to my brief comparison.
In this book, Elisa (our protagonist) moved to a desert nation. She is kidnapped by desert nomads who think she’s the Chosen One. She discovers new Chosen One powers and some secrets about an invading force. She eventually returns from the desert to defend her people against the invaders and their sorcerers. So, same general structure, except some of those plot points are altered slightly.
I kinda forgot to mention that this book is separated into three parts. This chapter is the start of Part Two, in which Elisa hangs out in the desert with the currently-nameless nomads and has adventures. It’s like the middle third of Dune, in which Paul hangs out in the desert with the Fremen and has adventures. So, without further ado….
Part One: Eating Muad’dib
Elisa comes to again and finds herself in a tent with a young man. The man, whose name is Humberto, gives Elisa some water and reveals that a) it’s been a while since she was kidnapped, b) nobody’s going to say why she was kidnapped, and c) she was knocked out with duerma leaf. Duerma leaf has the fun side effect of temporarily paralyzing people, which is why Elisa can’t move much at the moment.
Humberto later gets Elisa some soup, which he has to taste in order to prove that it’s not poisoned. Elisa eats the soup, then freaks out when she discovers that it includes jerboa meat. Jerboas are similar to kangaroo rats, so no wonder Elisa is grossed out.
Part Two: It Was You All Along!
Later that night, Elisa really needs to pee, so she leaves her tent (the paralysis wore off already) … and runs into Cosmé.
Cosmé reveals that a) she only knocked out Ximena with some duerma leaf, b) Humberto is her brother, and c) Elisa is only being treated well because Humberto insists upon it. Oh, and Cosmé will totally kill Elisa if she steals any food or water.
Part Three: How to Wear a Stillsuit
The next day, Humberto teaches Elisa how to wear desert clothes. And no, it’s not a stillsuit. Elisa gets Lawrence of Arabia clothes instead. Unlike Paul from Dune, Elisa isn’t a natural at wearing desert robes.
Also, Humberto tells Elisa that they have a travois handy in case she can’t keep up with the party.
Part Four: In Which Elisa Can’t Keep Up with the Party
Elisa can’t keep up, and has to use the travois instead.
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Humberto and Cosmé used horses to escape from Brisadulce. They switch to camels in the desert because horses obviously don’t fare as well.
There are two other party members – Belén and Jacián – who are in the party. I didn’t mention them because they weren’t named in this chapter. Belén is also the focus of my batshit crazy theories, which I’ll go over later.
It’s Translation Time!
Translations of Spanish (and Spanish-influenced) words in this chapter:
- Duerma = sleep
All the foodstuffs mentioned in this chapter:
- Jerboa soup with garlic and green onions
Next time: Humberto gives Elisa more tutorials. The party survives a sandstorm. A major time skip occurs.