{Review} THE CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson

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 out THIS TUESDAY!

The best thing about it?
This is Hector's story!!!!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

MY ENTOURAGE OF GUARDS STRUGGLES TO KEEP PACE as I fly down the corridors of my palace. Servants in starched frocks and shined shoes line the way, bowing like dominoes as I pass. From far away comes a low thrum, filtering even through walls of stone and mortar, steady as falling water, hollow as distant thunder. It's the crowd outside, chanting my name.

(pg. 1, US hardcover edition)

There are no words for how much I love Rae Carson and the world she's shared with us. Every one of her novels gets better and better. I wasn't super "in love" with THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS when I read it for the first time, but when I re-read it and then read THE CROWN OF EMBERS for the first time, I appreciated it and loved the first book so much more. I was also enamored with the new book. This year, I re-read both THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS and THE CROWN OF EMBERS so that I could read THE BITTER KINGDOM for the first time (You'll have to wait a couple more weeks for my review, though, sorry! I'm waiting until closer to the book's release!). Carson continues to repeat herself. Each book is better than the last. Nothing ever feels boring or unworthy. THE CROWN OF EMBERS is a perfect middle book, never feeling like filler to bridge two books and make a trilogy, but part of the series in and of itself. Even the novellas that take place in this world are meaningful and worth shelling out $2.99 a pop for!

There is definitely a big spoiler from the end of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS in this summary, so if you haven't read the first book yet, please check out this review instead!

Elisa is only seventeen years old, but she has more weight on her shoulders than most girls her age. When she was sixteen, she was married off to a king from a neighboring kingdom, then kidnapped and forced to endure life in the desert. She returned to uncover an enemy's deceit and became a widow. She's now sole heir to a kingdom she never wanted. To top it all off, she bears a Godstone in her belly, complete with powers that others will--and have--killed for. Her life is constantly in peril, and in THE CROWN OF EMBERS, readers see the lengths Invierne will go to in order to succeed. Elisa must once again journey into the unknown in order to save her kingdom and loved ones. This time, she has people she genuinely cares about, and she fears for their safety due to the danger constantly surrounding her. She no longer knows who to trust, or who genuinely wants what's best for her country and who is trying to manipulate her for their own greed. She must find a new husband, but isn't willing to become a political pawn in her own kingdom. When Elisa learns about the mystical zafira thanks to an Invierno in hiding named Storm, she must embark on another dangerous adventure, and this time, the price is even higher than it was the first time around.

There are no words for the feelings that come when reading any of Carson's books. There's breath-taking adventure, wrenching heartache, and the overwhelming strength of one brave girl. Carson is a master at character development, creating both major and minor characters that readers will feel strongly about and come to love. Elisa goes from a weak, somewhat boring girl to a strong female heroine over the course of the series. Some readers didn't care for her in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. I encourage those readers to try again. Elisa will surprise you. She's absolutely amazing. There was also a hint of attraction between Elisa and a certain male character that is easily overlooked in the first book due to another romantic entanglement, but upon my second re-read, I saw it instantly, and was excited when the chemistry between these characters became more apparent in the second book. At the same time, love is a concept Elisa doesn't wish to embrace, because she's already experienced too much death in the seventeen years she's been alive. I can understand her wariness all too well. Again, Carson's way with writing excels here.

I will warn you that the cliffhanger is devastating this time around, but the final book is out in less than a month, so if you're just starting the series now, you'll be just in time for the powerful finale!

This is seriously one of my all-time favorite fantasy series, and I already am coveting the launch of Carson's Goldscryer Saga, which doesn't even begin until 2014 and will take another three years to get through! But I want everything and anything that Rae Carson writes. She can't write fast enough for me, and I already know I'm going to inhale THE KING'S GUARD when it debuts on Tuesday. It's already pre-ordered on my nook!

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I really like the cover treatment for this series. It's so much better than the initial design because it's more unique and iconic now. If I see a cover, I know it's part of The Fire and Thorns series without even seeing a title! I love the way every cover features a girl in stone, hinting at the power of Elisa and her Godstone, while also remaining mysterious. The background of each book screams fantasy, and these are all books that I have to own in hardcover because they're so shiny and eye-catching!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Rae Carson
Release Date: Sept. 18, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins
Received: Purchased

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.