Saturday, 4 July 2015

Crown of Embers - Book Review

The Crown of Embers - Book Review
Rae Carson
YA Fantasy
(Fire and Thorns Book #2)
UK Publisher: Gollancz


She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.

Elisa is a hero.

She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten - and forbidden - clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom - despite everything  -  she is falling in love with.

If she is lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.


A brilliant middle book to a fantastic trilogy, I enjoyed Crown of Embers immensely. If you haven't already picked up the first book, Fire and Thorns, I highly recommend that you do so. Rae Carson is a fantastic writer of YA fantasy and she is definitely a writer to be added to your ‘I shall forever read this author’ list!

This book picks up a few weeks after the events in the previous book. Elisa is now queen and sole ruler of her kingdom. Yet the war is not over, and although the sorcerer army has been defeated, a much larger force is now making their way towards her kingdom. Unsure who to trust, as even her closest allies work to their own agendas, she puts together a group of unlikely heros, consisting of an enemy spy, a known traitor, her best friend, and the commander of her queens guard - a man she happens to be falling desperately in love with.  Together, the set off on a journey so that Elisa can learn the true power of her Godstone (a sapphire stone embedded in her navel, marking her as Gods chosen champion) so that she can defeat the sorcerers once and for all.

But sacrifices will be demanded of her, and Elisa will discover what the true price of ruling is. An explosive sequel to the first book, The Crown of Embers will take you on an adventure of love, magic and new found wonders. A truly spectacular read.

Elisa has become one of my favourite female protagonist. She has grown into a brave and intelligent young woman, and is finally becoming comfortable in her role as queen. While she was once the fat, over-looked second princess of a small kingdom, she is now considered a powerful queen and war hero. Yet despite all the changes she remains at the core a kind and selfless person, learning from each mistake while still naive to many matters of the heart. She truly grows as a character and you can’t help but love her. 

Yet all the characters are amazing. The commander of the queens guard, Hector, makes a suitable match for Elisa, yet I love how they were friends long before the romance sparks. And as the commander was the best friend of her late husband, it makes their connection so much deeper. 

However it was nice to see old characters from the previous book. While some characters didn't return until almost the end, their stories have become interesting and despite everyones own self-serving agendas, its nice to see that ultimately, everyone likes Elisa and tries to help her in their own ways.

The plot in this book was particularly enchanting. Full of adventure, political intrigue and just a dash of magic, its a rollercoaster of a ride and its hard to find a good place to put the book down for a breather. A real page turning read! Although while the cliff hanger of an ending was a little frustrating, luckily I had the next book ready on my bedside table (I would definitely advise buying all three books before picking up the first). While usually I refuse to read books in a series back to back - in this case, I was unable to control the urge to find out what happens next!

Overall a really great read. This series, FIRE AND THORNS,  has earned a special place on my bookshelves and I really hope you will pick it up and see for yourselves just how good it is. I give The Crown of Embers 4.5 stars!

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