Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Title:  The Crown of Embers
Author:  Rae Carson
Series:  Fire and Thorns #2
Genre:  YA fantasy
Pages:  410

Rating:  A

Synopsis from  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

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The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson was incredible!  I'm not sure if I love it as much as the first book or if I love it more.  This book definitely didn't follow the usual pattern with middle books in a trilogy.  It stands on its own as an exciting and romantic adventure.  (Now to attempt to review this without spoilers.)

Elisa is an even better character in this book.  She's more mature and sure of herself, quick-thinking, and diplomatic.  In her heart, she sometimes feels like an insecure seventeen-year-old, but she doesn't allow her insecurities to rule her or to affect her judgment.  I think Elisa's such an amazing person because of her strength.  She's willing to let go of love, happiness, and life for the sake of her kingdom and its people.

There are both old and new characters in The Crown of Embers.  Each one gets a chance to shine, as well as some great character development and background.  None of them ever seems two-dimensional.  But sometimes they did frustrate me (I despise Ximena!).  I wanted to just shake them all and say, "Don't you see the answer's right there in front of you?!"  But of course, if they had seen it, the story would have been very short, and the tension (romantic or hostile) between the characters wouldn't have happened.

The plot and writing were great.  I felt swept up into the story, the drama, the politics, the intrigue, the action.  I couldn't wait to start the next chapter and see where the story went.  And Carson definitely threw in some twists I wasn't expecting, which made the story even more exciting.

The best and most frustrating part of the book - the romance.  It's so obvious that Elisa and the man she's in love with (not telling) are meant to be together.  And the tension between them is spine-tingling.  It's also frustrating too, because you can see that they love each other, but it takes so long before they both come to that realization too.  Can't wait to see what happens with their relationship in the final book.

And then there was ... the cliffhanger.  OMG that ending killed me!  And now I have to wait to see how it all will end.  I am definitely excited for The Bitter Kingdom (out August 27th).  I hope it is as good as the first two books, because they were both awesome.  A

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