Check out my reviews of 
(I don't know what ever happened to my review of THE CROWN OF EMBERS, which I could swear I wrote.  
I guess you have one of those on the way, too!)

Look for my review of the amazing finale, THE BITTER KINGDOM, in August! You won't be disappointed by this series!!

Like Rae Carson's novellas?
coming July 30th!
The best thing about it?
This is Hector's story!!!!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

MARA wakes in the predawn chill. She did not stoke the fire in her tiny bedroom the night before, knowing the cold would rouse her early. She will need the darkness and solitude for her deception.

(pg. 5, US e-book edition)

Rae Carson excels at reaching out while a reader is cherishing her words, squeezing on his or her heart, and forcing that person to care. She's exceptionally good at character development, which is one thing I love about all of her titles.  I often don't buy e-novellas.  They're too short or nothing more than a tease, often not worth the $2.99 price tag.  Rae Carson's novellas have been worth every penny so far, and I've already pre-ordered this summers' upcoming novella.  Each of the novellas focuses on a different character from the Girl of Fire and Thorns series, fleshing them out and making you see things from new angles, especially when it comes to looking at series heroine Elisa.

THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN revolves around Mara, who is introduced late in the first book, and whose journey continues in both sequels.  Right before I started my epic re-read of the series this month in order to enjoy THE BITTER KINGDOM to the fullest extent, I took a peek at the summary for THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN to see what/who it was about.  I'd pre-ordered it months ago, but never read it until now.  I was saving it.  I looked at a co-worker who had also read the series and asked, "Who's Mara? Do you remember?" This is through no fault of Carson's.  My memory is notoriously bad.  I often can't even remember the name of main characters--in favorite books, no less!  Mara starts off as a minor character, but her role in the series becomes so important.  There are times when Elisa observes something about Mara, or Mara makes an offhanded comments, that makes readers curious about her past.  THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN was created to answer some of these questions.

The events of THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN take place during THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, leading up to the moment when Mara has her first encounter with Elisa, before Elisa ever knows of her existence.  We know a little bit about Mara's backstory from reading the series, but the novella delves into her rollercoaster of a relationship with her father, as well as expanding upon her relationship with Julio, the boy she fell in love with and was willing to risk everything for.  We see the Invierno attack her home, the way Mara grows up in an instant.  In some ways, her journey reminds me of Elisa's in the first novel; both girls start off weaker, but grow much strong by the time the last page is turned.

One of the things I appreciate the most about Carson is the way she isn't afraid to be real. Her characters live in a time of war. The world is a dangerous one, and she forces everyone to deal with the repercussions and fallout when events hit too close to home. Her characters don't sit around watching the action; they're involved in it. They are changed and defined by everything that occurs. Carson doesn't flinch away from the hard lessons of war, and I appreciate her writing and series even more for it.

If you've never read The Girl of Fire and Thorns series and you love fantasy, I highly recommend checking it out.  If you're already a fan of the series, THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN is a great addition that will whet your appetite until THE BITTER KINGDOM drops in late August.

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I like that HarperCollins kept a cohesive design to this ebook, even though they didn't give it the full treatment that the full novels get.  

Like the first novella, THE SHADOW CATS, the cover is simple, yet still intriguing.  It focuses on a stunning background/landscape to enjoy the way there is on the full novels. Simple, yet fitting and still lovely! The coloring brings to mind a different mountain from a scene in THE BITTER KINGDOM, but I can see why there's a lot of red on this cover.  The story does, after all, take place during a time of war!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Rae Carson
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins
Received: Purchased

On the outskirts of Joya d'Arena, small villages fight for survival against the onslaught of sorcerers and raiders. Mara's village has been safe--so far--but Mara decides to escape anyway. Escape from her harsh, abusive father. Escape with her first love. But when their plans fall on the same day that the animagi burn the village to the ground, Mara faces losses that could destroy her. She's a survivor, though. She is going to make it through the mountains, and she is going to protect the refugees following her. Because there's a rumored safe haven . . . and some say they have found the Chosen One. 

Told from Mara's point-of-view, The Shattered Mountain is an alternate perspective of the beginning of the acclaimed THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS.