Monday, September 17, 2012

Princess Bad-Ass: THE CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson

THE CROWN OF EMBERS (Girl of Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson
YA Fantasy
410 pages, hardcover
Available tomorrow (Sept. 18, 2012)
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Review copy provided by publisher

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.

Rae Carson really is a rockstar author. THE CROWN OF EMBERS, the second book her fantasy series, starts off after the Inviernos have been run off (but not defeated--they're still lurking, threatening and causing trouble), plunging the reader directly into the murky political waters of Brisadulce, Elisa's new home and capitol of her new kingdom. 

Elisa is a deeply nuanced character. She still battles her weight, though it's not nearly as much an issue as before. However, food is still a comfort to her. Despite her insecurities--her weight, her foreignness, her inexperience, her worry over her people--she's got a core of strength that is based in her faith and her Godstone. While she's secure in her religion that, too, is changing and evolving as she learns more of the history behind it and the Godstones. Intelligent but inexperienced, Elisa has her heart in the right place but she doesn't always do the smart thing. However, her tricksy political maneuverings give hint to the powerful Queen she will become.

Her husband dead, Elisa is now solitary ruler of a foreign land, fumbling her way through the unfamiliar world, with the heavy weight of power and responsibility on her young shoulders. Luckily, she has a small cadre of trusted and incredibly loyal people around her, including Hector, her personal guard, and Ximena, her nurse and protector. There's a spark between Hector and Elisa but they both try to ignore its existence because of the supposed impropriety. Any bit of warmth is a comfort to Elisa as she is surrounded by enemies and mired in red tape and political shenanigans. 

A quest disguised as a visit to a potential suitor's home provides Elisa with the chance to reconnect with her beloved desert as well as to her Godstone and to escape the sweltering, dangerous city. This quest also plunges her and her group into life-threatening danger and fascinating discovery.

The set-up for the final book has me drooling in anticipation. Sadly, THE BITTER KINGDOM won't come out until next year. Still, THE CROWN OF EMBERS is an incredibly satisfying novel, one that will definitely tide me over while at the same time whetting my appetite for the dramatic conclusion of this fascinating trilogy.

Available on Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble


  1. Squeals!!! SO happy you are finally back hon :)) I've missed you!!
    Oh and about the book.. I wasn't a big fan of the first book to be honest but I'm excited to hear you liked this one so much!

  2. I really should start this series! The first book is sitting on my kindle :)

    Great review

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  3. I can't wait!! I don't usually do this, but I actually pre-ordered this one without reading it just because of all the great reviews. I really enjoyed the first book, so I can't wait to re-read it and then delve into this sequel.

  4. YEAH MARY! I loved this book too:) Elisa is quickly becoming one of my favorite heroines even though we got off to a rocky start in book 1. I just love how much she seems to learn as she goes, and she recognizes her limitations and faults without dwelling on them.


  5. Hi Mary. I'm back! How has the school year been so far for you? I can't wait to read this one. I always liked the aspect of her personality where she struggles with her weight. It makes her feel real.

  6. Yayy! I'm so glad this book didn't fall into the unfortunate rut that many second novels seem to fall into and it sounds SO good! Elisa is such a fantastic character and I especially love that she grows even more in this installment! Fantastic review, Mary! :)

    Ivy Book Bindings

  7. Oh, so this is a follow up to the book with the girl with a stone in her bellybutton!
    :) I remember hearing of that book before and for some reason I always mixed it up with daughter of smoke and bone. LOL

    Anyway, I'm glad the book lived up to it's predecesor! That's always awesome.

  8. "Drooling in anticipation" -- yup, that's pretty accurate for us too! We thought COE was amaaaazing -- even better than GOFAT, which was pretty fab itself. Cannot even imagine how epic BITTER KINGDOM is gonna be!

  9. YES! I LOVE this series! Elisa is a character that has really grown a lot but whom I've loved from the very start. She's incredibly strong and such a great person. My heart broke for all she had to go through. Fantastic review!