The Crown of Embers
by Rae Carson
Original publication date: September 18, 2012
Length: 41o pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Series: 2nd book in The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy
Obtained Via: Borrowed from library
Format Read In: Library book
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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.
All right, dear readers. If you are a follower of this little blog of mine, first: thank you. Second: take a deep breath, because we’re going to mix it up today. I try to, in general, write detailed reviews that are a little casual, but still a little analytic. And let me tell you, I tried that for this book, and it did NOT work. So today, I am abandoning all that and will present to you. . .
Five Reasons Crown of Embers Rocked
1. Character development like WHOA for Elisa
In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa is a princess who feels inadequate, is afraid of her impending marriage, and tends to hide instead of doing anything. Over the course of that book, she becomes capable, someone who can stand up to great powers. She might still be afraid, but she takes things head-on. As great character development as all that is, it’s not adequate preparation for some of the things that Elisa faces in The Crown of Embers. First, she’s the queen now, and she makes some pretty terrible ruling decisions at the beginning. It’s not something she’s ever had to do before, and while she struggles, it’s difficult for her to rule. Over the course of this book, Elisa learns how to tackle the problems of running the kingdom. By the end, I was firmly on Elisa’s side.
2. The Plot
General, I know, but I couldn’t think of a way to say what I’m trying quite to get at. There’s quite a few plot points in Crown of Embers, but they all drive Elisa to the same place. There’s assassination attempts and a journey and danger and a magical place and it’s just high fantasy at it’s best, okay?
3. The world-building
I love almost everything about this world. It’s subtle, but I definitely felt I got more details about the world in this book than I did in the first. Whereas Girl of Fire and Thorns just introduced me to an okay world, I really loved seeing this kingdom from Elisa’s ruling perspective. It’s clear she hasn’t even discovered everything there is to know, and that makes this book an adventure.
4. The religion is a part of the story without being overused as a plot device
I was fascinated by the start at how Carson wove religion into the world of this trilogy, but I felt it was used a little too often as a convenient plot point in the first book. It’s definitely still here in this book, and Elisa’s Godstone is a powerful thing, but it’s done so fantastically. The faith and belief of characters are necessary to the plot, without it being used as an easy way to get out of sticky situations. I’ve always wondered why more fantasy books didn’t have *some* kind of religion, and I thought the way Carson used it in this book was brilliant.
Hector is just the best, okay? If you like Chaol from Throne of Glass, then Hector will be a character you will love. They’re pretty similar, except Hector is better(Sorry, I love Chaol and all, but there’s no competition there). I just want to hug him. He is a fantastic Captain of the Guard and his interactions with Elisa make me smile.
Second book syndrome? Not a problem here AT ALL. The Crown of Embers was fantastic, and I was captivated from the start. It improved upon the few things I had issues with in the first book and was a terrific story with a marvelous cast of characters. 5/5 cupcakes.