Sunday, 6 October 2013

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

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

Publication Date:
September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 416
Series: Fire and Thorns
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5
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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.

As per my review of the first book in this trilogy, I wasn't that impressed. So I was definitely a little weary going into this one. I've been hearing amazing things about this trilogy. And also was being told it gets much better as it goes on. That was my motivation to keep going. So I lowered my expectations and cracked it open. And to my surprise, I actually enjoyed Crown of Embers quite a bit more then expected. Unfortunately it isn't the epic fantasy I was hoping for. But after starting to overlook the things that annoy me (as they don't really hinder the story) I was in like with this book. And even Elisa.

The story picks up about six months after the events of the first book. Elisa is queen. It obviously hasn't been easy for her. She's only seventeen. So being so young has people doubting her abilities and leadership. Especially members of the Quorum. They talk to her like a child and undermine her thoughts and decisions. Her city is rioting. And there's still the constant worries of threats to her life from outside the kingdom.
Even starting this book it was obvious how much Elisa has changed. She's still insecure, naive and not as forthcoming as she should be. BUT she's intelligent, tactical and her leadership is improving. I definitely sympathized with her. Which is a huge improvement on what I felt reading the first book. There wasn't many times in that book where I really liked Elisa. I still don't love her. But the difference here is that with what's going on around her and to her, she doesn't have time for her inner dialogue to be so petty.
And also, her weight isn't pushed into the readers face every other page. Like I said before, I appreciate that she's an atypical heroine. I liked that she's over weight and has body issues. But I didn't need to be reminded of it all the time. This time around you still get the point that she's still not some athletic, super skinny girl. She likes her treats. But it's not shoved in your face more then a few times throughout the book.

Elisa certainly has quite a few people rooting against her in this book, but she's also got a very loyal inner circle. Without them she'd probably be dead.
The camaraderie between these characters is quite entertaining and one of the things that kept me turning the pages.
One of these friends being Hector, commander of Elisa's royal guard, and her closest friend. *sigh* Oh Hector. It's really hard not to fall in love with him. He's loyal, protective and just an overall brilliant friend to Elisa. You can see how much he loves her. Even though you know he's obviously trying to rein those feelings in because he's her guard and everything.
Elisa and Hector are super cute together. I'm was rooting for them from the beginning. Although I did want to smack Elisa upside her head. It took her far to long to realize her feelings and what was standing right in front of her. I'll take Hector if you're going to be that stupid.

We did get to explore a little more of the world this time. Sail the waters for uncharted land.
For me, the world building in a fantasy novel needs to be its own story within the story. It's one of the reasons I love the fantasy genre. I'm not creative enough to make up new worlds, but I want to read about them. I want to imagine being there with the characters as they explore this foreign land. Unfortunately this is where the Fire and Thorns trilogy has been lacking, so far. I'm not really being given this picture of this new world; well new world for me, the reader. I don't really know what the different kingdoms are like, the towns we pass by on the road, etc... It's pretty disappointing.

Also, in the first book we got this really small hint of old magic in the lands. And I was hoping that it was going to be played up more so this time around. But not really. You got some more facts about it from one of the new characters, but that was it. Elisa's Godstone magic is becoming stronger. But I'm not as interested in that magic as I am about this dormant magic that we've been told about. So I'll cross my fingers that it will be playing a bigger part in The Bitter Kingdom. I assume it should because of where Elisa has to travel to. ??

I am going to delve right into the last book, The Bitter Kingdom. I definitely want to see what will happen to
Elisa. And Hector. I'm hoping it'll be the epic conclusion I've been hearing so much about.

Happy reading!


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