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She does not know whatawaits her at the enemy's gate.
Elisa led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as queen 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 journey from the hidden catacombs beneath her own city to treacherous seas and a ...
She does not know whatawaits her at the enemy's gate.
Elisa led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as queen 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 journey from the hidden catacombs beneath her own city to treacherous seas and a long-forgotten island. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with. If she's lucky, she'll return. But there will be a cost.
Posted September 18, 2012
I devoured this book in a single day because I couldn't make myself slow down. I had high hopes going into it because I really loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and I'm happy to say that Crown of Embers surpassed my expectations. This is a fully realized fantasy rife with intrigue, emotion, courage, suspense, and betrayal.
Everyone should read this series.
I love that every character is three-dimensional and nuanced. I love that I can see the story happening against a beautifully described backdrop. And I really love that the character arc for Elisa is once again full of subtle shifts, flaws, and moments of brilliance. Reading this book is like revisiting an old friend and finding her full of fascinating new stories.
The plot is layered and complex enough to keep the reader completely engaged. The relationships are complicated and compelling. And the struggle between faith and discovering your own strength is portrayed with balance.
I could just rave on and on about this book. It's incredible. It deserves a spot on my favorites shelf and will be a book that I will re-read many times. If you haven't tried this series, please do. It's a gem.
8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 26, 2012
Disclaimer: I’m totally biased about this book and have been ever since I read the first draft, which was before I knew that it was dedicated to me. Also, I’m biased because I loved GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS – a strong young woman, a powerful voice, unexpected surprises, great adventure: what’s not to love?! – and this book is the sequel.
But CROWN OF EMBERS takes all those things and makes them better. I love the way Elisa goes from discovering herself and her own power to deciding how to use it to accomplish bigger goals. I love the mixture of political intrigue and religion and hard moral choices. I love the way her relationship grows and develops with [SPOILER]. I love the fact that even though Elisa’s not perfect, she acts like an adult and has real adult relationships built on communication and mutual respect. I love the gritty, vivid descriptions that make you feel like you’re right in the action. I love the ACTION. Have I used the word “love” enough times yet, so that you understand that I LOVE this book?
This is a great fantasy novel. I cannot recommend the series enthusiastically enough.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 21, 2012
This book has to be one of my favorites. Heck it's probably ranks first. This had me screaming "NOOOOOOO!" at the end because I didn't want it to end. Rae Carson has done an amazing job again. Fall of 2013 can't come fast enough. Highly HIGHLY recommended!
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2013
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Maria walks down the stairs and stands in feont of the throne. The chaplain walks up to her and gives her a kiss in bith of her cheeks. "Princesa Maria de Malcedonia. Do you swear to rule Malcedonia with no selfishness?" "I swear." "Do you swear to let each citizen have a choice, no matter what their rank of poverty is?" "I swear." "Do you swear to make the decision that you feel is best for the wellbeing of your kingdom?" "I swear." "Do you swear to be loyal and have a kind and merciful heart." "I swear." "Then by the power vested in me," he takes the tiara if my head," I hereby pronounce you," he takes the golden crown with rubies and pearls imbedded into it,"Queen Maria of Malcedonia." He places the crown on he head and she sits on the royal throne. She smiles and raises a staff. "I solemny swear all those that I am sworn to do and uphold. I promise to be the rightful queen you all so deserve." She says. Her royal subjects bow and the royal band plays "My wonderful Malcedonia"Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 17, 2013
The first book of this series focused on Elisa kind of finding her place in the world and developing some confidence in herself....and second book expounded even more on this journey. Elisa is now on her own in a new country and in a position of power and she has to put to test her new found confidence in herself. The entire book is about her coming into her own and realizing that she is enough. That she did not have to cling to anyone or rely on anyone to be great and could be great on her own. Yes, she can have magic and power beyond anyone else ...but it is nothing if she doubts herself and is weak in spirit. Yes, someone can love her for who she is and good and bad....but it is not the be all and end all. And it does not have to determine her worth. Elisa removed all the things that were keeping here chained to that girl from the first book that had no self esteem and did as she was told or what was wanted of her without questions. She is starting to recognize the people in her life, that are toxic. That say they do things because they care about you....but these things always end up hurting you and only serving them. Ximena...though she thinks she is the heroine in this tale...represents all that Elisa is trying to leave behind...and I was happy to see her put her foot down there. Xemina was on my last nerve. And in the end how she just sold out Hector like that for her own selfish gain....? To keep her influence? She was too much
I like the themes of this series. That in the end, it is not about who you have and what you have...but who you are and what you choose to do that makes you successful.
And of course...I love the romance. :). Hector is lovely, and if I were in Elisa's show..I would not have wasted that much time getting on that. Seriously. I like that the romance was a slow build. That we see the characters slowly begin to become aware of each other and fall into each other. I don't like these love at first sight deep loves, where the tow meet and 2 second later they are declaring undying love and calling each other soul mates...because they are not realistic. I like to see it and believe it. This romance is realistic because we see it start and grow along with Elisa. But of course it being great means I have to suffer through the angst that is to come. really? The ending was too much. But at least in the end, we will get to see the heroine running to the rescue of here man. It's a nice twist. Hector as the damsel in distress is very amusing.
I looked forward to the next book. I have heard good things only.
Posted September 27, 2013
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Posted August 26, 2013
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Book Two of the Fire and Thorns series
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
I am ACTUALLY kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I got an ARC last summer, thanks to Epic Reads, and I never took the opportunity to read this one. To be honest, I am definitely scared of sequels - more scared of sequels than I am scared of conclusion books. And the other deterrent? I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns years ago. I literally remember NOTHING from book one, except the deaths of Humberto and Elisa's husband. When I cracked book two, a few things started to come back... but I especially didn't remember Hector being so, um, prominent in book one.
Anyway. I really liked this book! I believe that when I read book one, I liked it, but I couldn't really see how the series would work out, and how the romance would work out. But this book is an EXCELLENT sequel, and in my opinion, takes the series in a much different path than I expected. In a good way!
To sum it all up in a really concise way, Elisa needs to find the all-encompassing source of power that will fuel her Godstone, making her and the Godstone crazy awesome and possibly invincible (or something). She and her suitor Tristan, and her not-so-much-appreciated "friend" Belen, and Hector, and other friends of Elisa help her travel to find this mythical source of power. But I'm getting ahead of myself. That's the second half of the book.
The first half of the book deals with Elisa and her new role as queen. Her husband is dead, and she is left with a riotous kingdom, a little crown prince, and a mess, really just one big mess. There is an assassination attempt on her life, which slows her, and there are times when she needs to show her power and stand as queen. Those scenes are heartbreaking - especially the poison/kitchen scene.
I think that Carson does a great job of showing growth in Elisa. I remember what Elisa was like in book one (and I didn't really like her, which is one of the reasons why I didn't care to remember the book), but I think from book one to book two, Elisa has developed substantially. I love the new Elisa - she is decisive even when she is unsure, she is willing and determined even when she has opposition.
The plot of this book is, as I said before, divided into two sections: the kingdom, and the journey to the zafira (the source of power). There are new characters in this book - plenty - such as Mara (I don't remember her being in book one. She wasn't - right? I know she has her own novella), Storm (loveeee him), and Tristan (he's cool). And the Quorum members. I don't like the Quorum. But neither does Elisa.
The romance. Okay, to be completely honest, I found the "romance" in book one, with Alejandro, and Humberto, really, really unsatisfying and unbelievable and trivial. I expected better of Elisa, and of Carson, and that was one of the reasons why I was disappointed and nonchalant about book one - because the romance was blah. And both of those men die at the end of book one.
So, the romance in this book? I didn't see it coming. If I hadn't read the end of this book (oops...) before reading the whole book, I would have been completely thrown. Heck, I WAS completely thrown, when I peeked at the ending! But I loved the romance! Hector is... dreamy. And seriously the BEST male protagonist and love interest that I have encountered in a really long time. He is seriously a good guy. Like, a good guy, with very little issues and crappy pasts and problems and everything. He's honorable and selfless and he genuinely cares about Elisa. And she cares about him!
The ending: I WILL NOT SPOIL IT, but, WHY DO AUTHORS ALWAYS DO THIS IN THE SEQUEL!? In trilogies, I've noticed that authors will have a great first book, and then a crazy, series-changing sequel with an insane, heartbreaking ending, and then a crazy conclusion that is full of bloodshed or the equivalent of a ton of wars and violence overcome.
WELL. I'm so glad that I didn't have to wait to read The Bitter Kingdom. I've had that one since early winter 2013 - I just needed to read this one to read book three. And I already have (tomorrow's review), so be ready for that!
What I Did Not Like:
There isn't much that I didn't like about this book. I wanted a tad bit more from the romance, but what Elisa decides in the end (the very end) is good enough for me. AND, I already read book three, so I can't complain. UGH, focusing on book two here. It's hard because I read this book a few weeks ago, and I'm typing my review way after reading the book.
Anyway. The ending is also extremely heartbreaking and unexpected and it totally crept up on me! Remember how I said I peeked at the end? Well, after reading the ENTIRE ending, I was like, what?! Stupid Ximena. I never really liked her. But she's a good person. Sort of.
I just did LOVE this book, like I LOVED book three. Funny, because they both got the same rating though.
Would I Recommend It:
YES! This book does not fall victim to the sequel slump or sophomore slump or whatever it's called. I had no reason to be afraid of reading this sequel. *kicks self*
4 stars. If you haven't started this series, you should! And if you're like me, and couldn't remember book one, don't worry! You'll be fine! And if you didn't like book one... keep reading. I promise it gets better. And BETTER ;)
Posted August 8, 2013
Posted August 7, 2013
Posted August 7, 2013
The black she-cat looked surprised, then scrambled to her feet, bolting out of the camp. The young white she-cat padded over to her rescuer ((sorry can't read headlines!)). "Thank you very much. I owe this Clan my life." She dipped her head.
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