Friday, February 8, 2013
Review: Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
By: Rae Carson
Published: September 18, 2012
Published by: Greenwillow books
Description: In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.
Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.
My Thoughts: I absolutely loved the first books in this series, Girl of Fire and Thorns, and Crown of Embers is no different.
Elisa is being hunted, constantly publicly attacked, and also privately deceived. As expected, she is wounded both physically and emotionally and we see that the role of Queen isn't all ball gowns, gold, lavish weddings, and expensive offerings. Elisa is only seventeen and already has more to deal with than seventy year old's. She's dealing with threats to her nation, herself, and her people all while trying to decide who to trust in a sea of traitors and those that want to control her life. Meanwhile, she must determine how she can marry for the good of her people and not for herself.
We saw a lot of growth out of Elisa in the first book as she went from spoiled overweight princess with a stone in her bellybutton forced to marry a King with a mistress and child from his previous marriage, to a Godstone bearing Queen leading a desert army and defending her kingdom from sorcerers after the death of the King. Elisa grows in this book as well. We start with a widowed queen, now made to become mother of the soon to be Heir while determining how to deal with the promise of another attack from the sorcerers and this time, an attack proving to be deadly. She has multiple attacks on her life and the lives of those protecting her. She journeys to a sacred, unknown land for power and a way to help her people. There she learns things about herself, and what she needs to to do effectively lead and become a stronger leader and a better person overall.
Most middle books in trilogy's tend to feel a lot like fillers meant to do nothing but bridge the gap between the first and last books. That is not the case with Crown of Embers. It had a purpose and I enjoyed reading it.
I loved Elisa even more in this book. She had vulnerability, but also strength. Those she had around her obviously loved her. I loved Hector, the leader of her Royal Guard and the most amazing man ever. Mara was sweet and lovely and girly and so fun, and even Ximena, with her overbearing mother-like tendencies was just as annoyingly lovable. We also got to see some old faces from book one which was a wonderful treat.
This story talks about finding whats inside yourself and learning to tap into it. It's about following your heart, and doing what's best. It's also about faith and the knowledge that what doesn't kill you, almost always makes you stronger. It did end in a nearly unbearable cliffhanger but I understand it couldn't have been avoided. I cant wait to read the next book in the series, The Bitter Kingdom. There was nothing I didn't like about this book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy read with the hint of romance and Godly purpose. Crown of Embers easily earns 5 stars. The next time I get the chance to spend money on books without feeling regret, I will certainly be purchasing this and the first book for my bookshelf collection.