Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fiery Souls With Crowns...

Published:  Septmeber 18th, 2012
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns # 2)
By: Rae Carson
Greenwillow Books
ISBN-13:  9780062026514

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.


     Elisa has survived a war between her country and the Invierne, with their cruel magic.  Now at only seventeen, she is celebrating one victory in an environment of political vipers, with her position as Queen hanging in the balance.  But it comes to light that the war might not be over and the enemy may have just retreated.  The only people she can trust are Hector, the commander of her royal guard, and her maid Mara.   Even loyal protector Ximena has her own political and personal agendas for Elisa. When attempts are made on Elisa's life and others are caught in the crossfire, she decides to undertake a quest that has been prophesied, that will lead to unlimited power for one bearer of the Godstone.  Will it be Elisa?  Also can her feelings for Hector ever be allowed to grow romatically, or will politics get in the way?  It is up to Elisa and those she trusts the most to solve the mystery of who is trying to kill her, find the traitors within her royal court, and complete their latest quest before it's too late.  Will they kingdom crumble or will they succeed?  I truly loved the first book and had very close to zero complaints with it.  Elisa is a strong protagonist, who has grown and matured over the course of the first novel.  She became an intelligent leader with a strong backbone.  In the beginning of this novel the strength has remained, but we also see the insecurities that come with leading an entire kingdom, rather than just a rebellion.  The power of the Godstone that Elisa carries is further expounded upon and she gains more control over its power as the book progresses.  I enjoyed the Invierne man as a reluctant ally and the revelation about his Godstone was interesting in the context of the plot.  I liked the political machinations that took place in this book and how Carson managed to make them interesting and integral to the plot.  The side story-line with Ximena continuously trying to manipulate Elisa and  the latter finally sending her back to the kingdom they originally came from was heartrending  but only made me like Elisa even more.  She refused to have her life planned out for her, even by someone like a Mother to her. As a sequel it is essential to read the first book the know what the heck is going on.  This book managed to completely avoid the sophomore slump that seems to be a given when reading a YA trilogy - even a fantasy one!   It kept pace with the first book, the romance was tastefully, maturely and realistically done and the adventure was plentiful.  I loved it and will be awaiting the last book in the trilogy with great longing.  I cannot recommend this series enough for fans of high fantasy and authors like Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley and Kristin Cashore.  And Rae Carson just might be better than any of them! :)  Also the mention and responsible usage of some form of birth control, even with the novel's religious overtones greatly endears this author to me.  Three cheers for responsibility!

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

***No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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