October 17, 2012

Latest Read: Crown of Embers

Here are the basics ...
Book: Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)
Author: Rae Carson
Site: http://www.raecarson.com/
Category: Young Adult - Fantasy

Summary: Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory and is now their queen, at only seventeen years old. Her rivals 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. (Adapted from goodreads.com
My thoughts…
It's hard to talk about this book without mentioning the first, so if you haven't The Girl of Fire and Thorns (my review), you may want to skip this review. For now :)  

The good: The second book picks up right where The Girl of Fire and Thorns left off.  Elisa is now Queen of Brisdaluce and struggling to find her place as a ruler and as a young woman growing up.  She's come such a long way from the girl she was in the beginning of the series.  Even though she still struggles with insecurities, she's strong, intelligent and has this spark that can't be ignored.  Not to mention, her unwavering faith.  The whole aspect of religion and how it affects her life is so interestingly portrayed.  I mean, can you imagine having a jeweled stone in your navel that warmed up every time you prayed? I know that sounds pretty strange but it's almost like this affirmation that someone is listening.  And from that knowledge comes great powers and of course, a destiny. 

All the elements I loved in the first book were still present in the second but.. better.  And I say this as someone who LOVED the first book.  The plot was just as strong but more focused.  Elisa is on a journey that involves both religion and securing her role on the throne.  (Almost) all the same characters stand behind her, with a couple of new ones, but this time, I felt like we got to know some of them better and see them in a different light.  For example, her nursemaid and protector Ximena. Instead of seeing her as this maternal figure, I (and Elisa) started to see her as someone who was holding her back from growing up.  Then for the first time, we get to see Elisa have a close female friend, Mara, that she can talk to. Amidst all the craziness and fantasy-ness of this book, the author still allowed for moments and real conversations that a young woman would want to have and I really enjoyed that.  And lastly, the swoon factor in this book.. way, way higher. I loved her relationship with Hector, the commander of the guard, and the buildup of the chemistry between them.  Then just when I thought their love was doomed given their differences in status.. well, you'll have to read to find out but I was very, very happy. 

(No) Reservations: I hate having to wait another year for the next book.  Sigh, oh Hector.. 

Do I recommend?: Definitely.  This is one of the more uniquely told fantasy stories I've read.  It's fast-paced, well-written and filled with so many characters that I enjoy.  

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your review of this! I have similar feelings! I loved the first book but this one just absolutely blew me out of the water. Hector oh Hector is right. My heart was pounding at the end, where is book 3?! :)

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