After reading and loving The Girl of Fire and Thorns last year, I was very excited for the sequel, The Crown of Embers. What I truly love about this story is the main character, Elisa. She started out very differently than other main characters in fantasy YA to come out lately. (You can read all my thoughts on it in my review of the first Fire and Thorns book here.) She struck accord with me, so it’s no surprise that I was eager to read about the next part of her journey. The Crown of Embers is an engaging second installment to Elisa’s story. It will sweep you up in to the Fire and Thorns world and make you never want to leave.
After the death of her husband, King Alejandro, Elisa is now the Queen. Of course, being Queen comes with many responsibilities, which is overwhelming for the seventeen-year-old. In addition, Elisa is trying to learn more about her Godstone, its powers and what it may all mean for her destiny. Rioting and Invierne attacks are happening, which is adding even more to her kingdom’s problems. It ALSO doesn’t help that someone is trying to assassinate Elisa. Oh, and finally, Elisa is being pressured to find eligible suitor to marry to help her political standing, even though her heart may already belong to someone else.
Yeah, The Crown of Embers raises a ton of issues for poor Elisa. Just like almost anyone, especially a teenage girl, she is looking for an easy way out. When she learns that there is a mysterious and magical place where she can absorb even more power that can help her protect her kingdom, she and loyal friends make it a mission to find it before the kingdom’s troubles escalate.
The story begins a bit slow; we get to see how Elisa is doing as Queen and all the problems that she encounters. The action picks up when the first assassination attempt happens, and then the desperation of Elisa and company quicken the pace. We meet a few new characters, some you’ll instantly love and some you think you shouldn’t trust. The romance is definitely a bigger factor here than it was in the previous book. ( I won’t pretend that I’m not in love with Hector too.) I liked how the romance worked into Elisa’s journey to find the new power. Sometimes, romance can distract from the task at hand, but Elisa’s love for Hector actually guides her down the right path. It’s intense, yet subtle the way it works. Elisa tries to bury her feelings, but when she doesn’t, that’s when the real magic happens. She becomes confident and powerful.
The sequel does give us better backstory for the supporting characters. They’re still a little mysterious by the end of the novel, and I’m hoping we learn more in the final book. (We’ll definitely learn more about Hector.) As for Elisa, I had said that she grew up a lot in the first book. But in this one, she takes that final step, which I didn’t realize that she hadn’t done yet until the very end. I was dreading nearing the end of the book because I was afraid it will end with them in a bad situation and would be depressing. I was half-right, sort of. It did leave Elisa in a difficult situation, normally something I would find depressing. But Elisa’s power and grace in that final scene made it uplifting. I didn’t realize it until now, but I finally and truly believe in her; I know she can do this. She’s truly a Queen now, and I absolutely can’t possibly wait until the final book, The Bitter Kingdom, comes out next year.
Rating: 9.5/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆
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- Publisher: GreenWillow Books (September 18, 2012)
- Length: 410 pages
- Series: Fire and Thorns Book 2
- Source: Hardcover, 1st Ed.
- Genre: Fiction, YA, Romance, Fantasy
- Completed: October 2012