The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, was much more enjoyable than the first, at least to me. I read it in about two days and it was over four hundred pages long! And this was in the midst of two vacations and packing with just a week between, so I kind of forced time out of my schedule to read it, but it was so worth it!
Elisa just fought back the Invierne army and killed many of the animagi attacking her country of Joya d’Arena. Now, as queen, Elisa must face dangers and frustrations that she had never encountered before, such as scheming condes, the betrayals of those she holds in the closest trust, as well as a forced betrothal, not for the sake of love, but power. After an animagus burns itself in the center of her capital, Brisadulce, during her birthday parade and an assassination attempt folowing soon after, Elisa goes in search of the perpetrator in the catacombs beneath the city, only to find an Invierno man named Storm, who has information that could help her finally tap into the Godstone’s incredible power. He tells her of the source of all power, the zafira, and Elisa and her crew go on a journey to find it. Oh, and she also falls in love again, though this time I think it’s for real. But will she survive her perilous journey to be with the man she loves? Even if she does, will he?
I liked Elisa three thousand times more in this book than the first. She wasn’t a weakling, or a coward, or anything like that. She was strong and brave and smart, a strong female lead, though she kept saying that she was weak as queen. No, girl; Alejandro was weak and you are nothing like him, don’t worry! Rosario, once again, was super adorable and I just want to take him home with me! I’m just sad that he has such a small part in these books; I hope we get to see him more in the next one! I also really liked Hector, the captain of Elisa’s Royal Guard. He’s kind and brave and caring; plus, he’s yummy J I did not like Ximena at all in this book; I know she’s supposed to be Elisa’s guardian, but she just needs to back off! I liked the part of this book when she wasn’t in it because she always keeps things from her and coddles her way too much. I’m glad she (hopefully) won’t be around too much in the next book!
The story was fast-paced, but in a good way; it kept me reading and I didn’t ever want to put it down! The romance was also very well paced- it wasn’t the quick love at first sight that is found in so many YA books today. It began in the first book and it didn’t truly come to fruition until the second half of the second book, so it took its sweet time (and I don’t mean that sarcastically, it actually was really sweet J). The world that Carson has created is intricate and interesting, and I love the way she describes each new place that Elisa goes to; this time it was the island (that had gigantic bird-sized bugs, ew) and next time it will hopefully be Invierne! I have been wondering what it looks like, so I’m excited that the next book will take us there!
And with that, I will start reading the next one, The Bitter Kingdom!