Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review - Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns, Book 2) by Rae Carson (5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 416 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 18, 2012
ISBN: 978-0062026514
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series
Source: Borrowed through Library
Rating: 5/5 stars

This was the second book in the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. The last book will be titled The Bitter Kingdom and is scheduled for a Fall 2013 release. This was an absolutely wonderful fantasy book and an excellent continuation of this series.

Elisa is struggling with her position as Queen of a country that has been torn by war and is struggling to recover. She follows the power of her Godstone to go in search of more power to help her kingdom; all the while fleeing assassins. Accompanying her is the steadfast Hector along with others.

Elisa learns a lot about herself and what it means to be Queen and grows a lot throughout the story. You see hints of the laziness that Elisa showed in the beginning of the first book in this series. Elisa is kind of enjoying her status as hero of the realm but not really stepping up in her role as Queen. It takes a quest for power initiated by her Godstone to teach Elisa to be the ruler she is meant to be. Elisa is so human and tries so hard. She is smart, but lazy at times. It was wonderful to watch her grow in this book.

Elisa’s main love interest in this book is Hector. Hector is an intriguing character and we learn a lot more back story about him in this book. He is brave and steadfast. The romance that develops between him and Elisa is somewhat star-crossed, yet oh so very sweet. Their relationship is based on so much friendship and trust that it was a joy to read about.

The other characters surrounding Elisa are all intriguing, interesting, and have stories of their own woven into the story. They are all very well done.

This is an intricate and well thought out world. I love the hints we get throughout the book of what the world used to be before Elisa’s people arrived. There is a story behind that that I am eager to see unraveled.

This book was less about action and adventure and more about intrigue. That is not to say there aren’t a number of heart-pounding action scenes...but there are also a lot of scenes where Elisa is trying to navigate politics in order to provide the best situation for her people.

The story is more religious than most fantasies I read. I am not a big fan of religion in fantasy; but for this book it works. Religion is such a basic foundation of Elisa’s culture that it is woven seamlessly into the story. I will warn that the story ends at a horrible cliffhanger, which has me dying to know what happens next.

Overall this is a wonderful addition to this trilogy. The book is beautifully written with touches of humor and a super sweet love story entwined with an excellent world and intrigue filled plot. I couldn't put this book down. It is a bit more religious than most fantasies I read, but religion is such a part of the culture that it flows well with the story. This was just a wonderful book; I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens in The Bitter Kingdom. This series is strongly recommended to fans of YA epic fantasy who don’t mind religion driven cultures.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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