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I Belong

Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Title: The Crown of Embers

Author: Rae Carson

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Girl of Fire and Thorns (Book 2)

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062026518 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062026514 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Kayla


She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.

Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears once and for all, Elisa must follow the trail of long-forgotten–and forbidden–clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who–despite everything–she is falling in love with.

If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

Quick & Dirty: Elisa struggles with being a strong leader for a kingdom that’s falling apart. Meanwhile she starts to fall in love with her most loyal and trustworthy friend.

Opening Sentence: My entourage of guards struggles to keep pace as I fly down the corridors of my palace.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Elisa has come home a war hero, but the glory is short lived. After an animagus displays an unimaginable warning to the queen, death has been stalking Elisa night and day. As the sole ruler of a crumbling country, Elisa’s authority is questioned everyday. She needs to be a stronger monarch, but her council suggests she marry, only to hide behind a king. Nobody trusts her to make the right decisions except the Commander of the Royal Guard and her best friend Hector. But as they grow closer and the pressure to make a strategic marriage increases, Elisa must make one of the hardest decisions of her life. Can love conquer all? Will Elisa embrace her role as queen and bearer of the Godstone? Carson weaves yet another intense, sweet and suspenseful story with quests, magic and love.

I LOVE this book. I wasn’t a major fan of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but Crown of Embers blew me away. Although there is a decrease in action compared to Fire and Thorns, there are plenty of heart-stopping moments and fast-paced events. In this book, adventure is replaced with palace intrigue and a cute, but short romance is replaced with a deep, intense star-crossed lovers. There are multiple twists that caught me by surprise but most of the book was predictable. Of course predictable can still have suspense and intrigue, just more in the how department than the what department.

Okay, I liked Humberto, but I’ve been rooting for Hector since we first met him in Fire and Thorns. Carson dropped insignificant hints in Fire and Thorns that something more than a friendship would develop between him and Elisa, but I was never for sure. In Crown of Embers their relationship starts like lava then ends in a volcano (yes, that’s backwards, I know.) Hector sort of reminds me of a big huge cuddly teddy bear that can snap your arms if you endanger someone he loves. He tries to be stoic and polite, but as Elisa grows more attached and desperate to keep him, his wall crumbles. Yet they both know it won’t last.

Elisa is, as always, brave and vigilant against those who think her weak. And in truth, she was a weak ruler. Although she thinks that she has fulfilled her prophesy as bearer of the Godstone (a blue jewel that acknowledges her prayers and warns her of danger), she finds out that she has yet to enter the gate of her enemy. As she struggles to find and hold power in her city that’s breaking into riots, Elisa goes on a quest to find more power through her Godstone in hopes of bringing her city back together. But it comes with a price.

Carson writes yet another beautiful and intricate story that ends in such a cliffhanger that I threw it on the floor (don’t worry, there were no books harmed in the making of this review — I was already reading on the floor.) If you haven’t read this series yet, I suggest you get to it! It’s worth every tear and laugh.

Notable Scene:

“You are in grave peril, Your Majesty. I have seen the signs, and I know Invierne will make another play. Soon. But this time, there will be no army to defend against. this time, they will come at you like spirits in the night, and you won’t recognize the danger until it’s too late.”

The animagus uttered similar words. I swallow the panic that rises in my throat. “Why? Why warn me?”

“I like my life. My secret village turns a nice profit on river scavenge. The people I lead are stupid and filthy, but they treat me with respect, even worship. All my needs are tended to. I would like things to stay exactly the way they are, and I know the city of Brisadulce has its best chance of remaining stable if you are in power and well aware of the Invierne threat.”

Hector leans forward, nostrils flared, face hard. I have never seen him so angry. “The Inviernos will find that Elisa is very difficult to kill,” he says, making the dagger dance in the air by some gymnastic wrist and fingers.

Storm laughs, and the sound is as brittle as breaking glass. “Did I say kill? I don’t believe I did. Invierne wants her very much alive. Though I assure you that if one of Invierne’s innumerable spies gets ahold of her, she will wish herself dead.”

Girl of Fire and Thorns Series:

1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns

1.5. The Shadow Cats: A Girl of Fire and Thorns Story

2. The Crown of Embers

3. The Bitter Kingdom (Fall 2013)

FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of The Crown of Embers. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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