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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson

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.

Released: September 18th 2012     Pages:410
Publisher: Greenwillow                 Source: Library

This is the first book I've ever managed to get sucked into a black hole in the library transit system.  I didn't realize the transit system had a black hole, but apparently, it does.  I requested this book at the beginning of September.  When it came out, the request status went to "in transit", like it usually does.  And then it stayed in transit all the way through September, October...and into January.  I have no clue what happened, but a week ago (January!), I finally canceled the request.  Because I found this book in my school library.

This book is gorgeous.  The cover art is beautiful and a little bit shiny.  It's one of those books that's just fun to hold.  Hey, I never said I was above the influence of pretty covers.

But anyway...I'm glad I'm not hearing about Elisa's weight every chapter like I did in The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  I get that it was a real thing that people could relate to, but it got annoying.  Now, in The Crown of Embers, Elisa has grown.  She's lost weight, but I think she's also realized that there's more to life than what you look like.  Her conflicts over how to be a good queen add depth to her character. 

On the other hand, she frustrated me sometimes.  As soon as a certain act of treachery was committed, I knew exactly who did it.  To me, it was blatantly obvious.  And then there's this Franco guy, whose name comes up every time something bad happens.  But let's not look into that, 'kay?  Because obviously, that isn't suspicious at all.  Nope.  Seriously, is it that hard, Elisa?

Elisa's relationship with Hector, though a bit cliché and melodramatic, was well done.  It didn't develop too fast, and I found myself rooting for them.  It felt real.  And I appreciate that.  Also, it got to me feel for them, especially at the end.  (If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about.)

My favorite part of this, though, is by far the setting.  It was utterly rich and captivating.  I loved it so much, I can't even begin to describe it.  The way Rae Carson weaves the setting into the narration creates a fabulous picture of it in my mind.  I love the desert/Hispanic twist to all of it.  IT'S SO GORGEOUS, PEOPLE.  I actually want to live there.  Well, maybe not with all the war and such.  After the war is over and everything's good again, I'm moving in. 

Overall, I very much enjoyed this, and I'll be reading the sequel!  The characters are quite likable, and the plot moves along well, even though some of the big reveals are obvious.  Above all, it has a gorgeous and unique setting that I want to live in.  Four stars!

Similar Books: It features a main character who is a queen like The Demon KingBitterblue or Falling Kingdoms (okay, some of these characters are princesses, but whatever...).  It has elements of magic like in Shadow and Bone and Grave Mercy.

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