Mar 30, 2015

Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

TitleCrown of Embers
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publishing Date: September 8, 2012
Pages/Format: 410, Hardcover
Add on Goodreads!

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's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

Book in One Word: AHHHHH.

A couple months ago I devoured the first book in Rae Carson's fantasy trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Since then, I have been super, super eager to read the second installment, but with school I just didn't have the time (stupid school). But then Spring Break arrived and I was like, "Yes! I can finally read it!" And like its predecessor, I devoured The Crown of Embers.

Writing this review is hard--I made the mistake of reading The Bitter Kingdom before writing this review, and I keep jumbling the two up and my mind is stuck in the last book. (But seriously, how could I not start The Bitter Kingdom after The Crown of Embers and waste precious reading time writing a review?) I'm going to try and make this review give The Crown of Embers some worth, because this book was so good and if you haven't started this series you absolutely must.

In this sequel--and here's where the spoilers start if you haven't read the first book--Joya d'Arena is kind of a mess after the big fight with the Inviernos and animagi at the end of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Elisa's trying to rule in Brisadulce (keep in mind she's a queen and the bearer of the Godstone, and I still find the whole jewel-like-thing-in-her-belly-button thing kind of weird), but she has little money, people are complaining about this and not having that, elders are trying to rule over her, and some people want her dead. There's a lot she needs to do in order to show her strength and keep her rule, and this introduces some new characters to the series and gives a new setting or two (a couple of which were actually kind of fun).

If Elisa's character development was strong in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, then it's nearly exploding in The Crown of Embers. We really see her going from this girl who was raised kind of sheltered and to one who is learning to take of herself and be her own person. But she doesn't have to do it alone--she has Ximena (who I do not care for), her lady-in-waiting Mara, Father Nicandro, a few old friends, and, of course, Hector. Or should I say HECTOOOOR? Spoiler alert not spoiler alert, if you've heard anything about this series it's probably been about Hector--or, more accurately, HECTOOOOR--which automatically makes him The Ship. And my gosh, I SHIP IT. Hector's Elisa's main guard and Commander of the Royal Guard, and he's perfectly capable of taking care of himself. And while Elisa has people out to kill her and still has much to learn, she'd still manage much better than the Elisa we met at the beginning of the series. But when you've got Hector around protecting you at all costs and he's got a great personality and is easy on the eyes...well, you can't help but get FRUSTRATED WHEN THEY WON'T DO WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO. I may have covered my face with the book a few times or slapped it on my legs or wanted to throw it. I may have seriously considered making voodoo dolls so they would just do what I wanted them to do. And I'll leave it at that.

Like book one, The Crown of Embers has Elisa doing some traveling, and the most interesting location may be a sewer. (And, oh, how I will leave it at that.) I'll admit, this book had a few parts where I was kind of freaking out because I felt like I wasn't loving or liking it like The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but then things happened and there were twists and turns and maybe some romance and then I was like YES, BOOK, YOU'RE AMAZING. (Though there were a lot of typos and that kind of bugged me.) I'm going to stop now because, again, my mind is stuck on the third book and spewing words about that and the series as a whole, but really, The Crown of Embers is just:

Read this book read this book read this book. (But read The Girl of Fire and Thorns first, of course.) It's simple yet sophisticated, and it's composed of so many elements that I just LOVE in a book. And it's got the characters and the story and the setting--it's a damn good book. So please, read it. But make sure you have The Bitter Kingdom on hand because you're gonna NEED IT after The Crown of Ember's ending.

Did I like it? Yesss.
Did I love it? Yesss.
Would I reread it? Yesss.
Would I purchase it? Why is this not on my shelves yet?
Who would I recommend it to? Everyone. Everyone. Everyone.


  1. I turned up my nose at these books because of the whole "stone in her stomach" thing. How weird. And I don't like fantasy and that sounds like classic "fairy princess fantasy."....but I was proven wrong. Love these books. I just don't tell people about that stone thing when I recommend these...

  2. Ack I've been meaning to read this series for so long. SO LONG. I have a holiday coming up, so am planning to delve into my TBR pile and never emerge.

  3. Oh my gosh I read this book a few weeks ago. As soon as I finished it I had to buy Bitter Kingdom. It was soooooo good! My review of Bitter Kingdom is here.

  4. I've wanted to read this series for the longest time! I don't know why I don't just buy the books already! Awesome review! (:

    Pearl @ AsteriskPearl's Book Blog

  5. yet the animals were likewise instilled with Dog Harness Reviews sufficient aggression to function check my site as guards in any kind of scenario.


I've been having s-to-the-pam issues, and I wasn't thrilled with Disqus, so sorry about the CAPTCHA!