The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Release: September 18, 2012
Source: ARC (from publisher for review)
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.
Earlier this year, I posted my short review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Simply put, it was amazing. I loved Elisa and I applauded Rae Carson for her ballsy decision to kill off certain characters (who will not be named).
It's hard to imagine, but The Crown of Embers is even better than its predecessor. The first 100 pages made me feel all sorts of emotions as Elisa deals with her new role as Queen. There are tears! There are attempted assassinations! Believe me when I say the action is not lacking. I was fully engrossed in this book from page one.
However, my favorite part of this book was seeing Elisa grow as a character. This is how character growth is done! It was so real, so raw, and so moving, and I found myself loving Elisa more and more. She's no longer that self-depricating overweight princess. She's grown to see herself as someone people look up to. She's grown to see herself as Queen. That knowledge alone allows Elisa to grow a tougher skin. She's stronger, smarter, yet still flawed in her own way.
And the love interest! *swoon* I am so happy that Carson chose to develop the love like a slow burning ember. Amongst dozens of books with insta-love, The Crown of Embers is a breath of fresh air. This love is born out of respect, not lust.
The world Elisa lives in is also worthy of praise. It's so vivid, so rich, and so layered. It's the perfect setting for Elia's journey of love and self-discovery. Trust me, Elisa doesn't stay cooped up in the Palace the whole time. And there's still plenty of action, probably more than the first book. My only complaint? The ending. Cuz I want The Bitter Kingdom! Like now! The ending is crazy amazing and it left me breathless...
Bottom line: The Crown of Embers is everything I could have hoped it would be and more. I loved it.
Thank you, Harpercollins for this ARC. I assure you, when I received it, there was squealing. Lots of squealing. The ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review and it in no way affects my opinion.
RATING: 5 SLICES