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.
Warning: If you haven’t read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, please be aware there are spoilers ahead.
I am so enraptured by this series. The first book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, was good but I never got around to writing a review. It was too difficult to put into words how I felt about it. I just knew that I enjoyed it enough to read the second book, even though Rae Carson ended her first novel with some really depressing twists. I didn’t know if I would recover and I didn’t know how Carson could recover a series that ended so…bloody.
Alas, The Crown of Embers was magnificent, better than the first book. The main character, Elisa, is more confident and aware of herself. There is more character development and the plot churns on until the reader HAS to know what will happen. The best part, however, is the romance. Carson has perfected the forbidden love story. In the words of Mr. Darcy, Carson has bewitched me heart and soul. Hector and Elisa’s relationship blooms from the ashes of her loss of Humberto in the first book. I didn’t think it could happen, but Carson reignited hope into Elisa and into the reader. I clung to the tiny spark of hope like it was something precious throughout the entire book. Being Queen is not easy and a queen is never given many choices. Elisa is being pressured to find a husband, far too early since the death of the King only months prior. I was on the edge of my seat in desperation for Elisa to find love — and get to keep it.
There is so much adventure and political intrigue in this book. I love the world Carson created and I love to watch Elisa’s failures and triumphs in the kingdom she is so desperately trying to save. She really puts herself out there to save her kingdom, making her an extremely relatable and likable character. I love that she also puts herself out there for Hector. There was all of this sexual tension and emotional turmoil. They were both torn between their feelings and duty, making for a very interesting plot twist in the end.
I have to mention how much I loved the “God” element. As the bearer of the Godstone, Elisa has this direct connection with God. (Just to clarify, I don’t know whether its the Christian God or Carson’s fictional god. Either way, I’m loving this additional layer of relationship.) The physical warning signs the Godstone puts out adds something unique to the story, and I, for one, can relate to such a devout character.
I really enjoyed this sequel. It was better than the first book now that the plot has been narrowed down to something more specific, not to mention Hector! The ending left me breathless in anticipation for the next book, The Bitter Kingdom, which releases in September 2013. This will be a must-read in 2013 for me.
Stars: 4.5 out of 5