Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Rating: ★★★★

 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 both foreign realms and 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 the trail of long-forgotten--and forbidden--clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who--despite everything--she is falling in love with.

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

Wow. I absolutely loved this book. I really enjoyed the first one, though I had a few quibbles with the Godstone mythology, the underdeveloped romance, and even, at times, Elisa, but oh, boy. This book fixed all those problems for me and more.

The Godstone and God’s power here are not crutches. The Big Choice that Elisa makes near the end was one that actually had me clapping. Elisa is awesome. I didn’t realize how much more she still had to develop, but develop she did. She is so clever, and feels so intensely, and tries so hard to be a good queen. She’s a true heroine.

The plot is action packed and engaging from the start. I zipped through this book so fast because I just had to find out what happened next. Carson’s writing continues to be beautiful, her descriptions exquisite, and her world fully realized. My only issue was the overuse of the word sibilant (nitpick alert!) only because I’d never heard it, noted it at its first use, and noted it the next eleven or so times it was used. But seriously. Joya d’Arena and its surrounding constitute one of the deepest fantasy worlds I’ve read in a while. You could actually live there. When you read The Crown of Embers, you feel as if you are.

The characters feel more fleshed out. I got to know Hector better, who I already loved, and Mara, who I came to adore. Facets of Ximena’s personality came to light. Basically, the cast is colorful and alive. The political intrigue is twisty, the plots are nefarious, the enemies are evil. Some secrets I guessed way ahead of time (Tristan’s, for example,

And on to the big stuff. The romance. Holy God indeed. It just left me breathless. No thin youthful crushes here. This romance breath-stopping, toe-curling powerful. Probably the most romantic book I’ve read in a long time. I’ve been Team Hector from the start, and if you read The Girl of Fire and Thorns thinking, “Hey… Elisa and Hector are kind of nice together… why isn’t there more Hector in this book?” then my friend, you are in luck.

Oh, right, and this book will break your heart. In a great way, of course. But still, it’s crushing. Which is the best part of a great book, of course, that it can reach inside you and twist your guts around so easily and make you look like this when you’re done:

THE FEELS!!! But... but where's the next one?


  1. HECTOR WAS THE TOTAL BEST.I mean adgfhsdkladskf swoon. This just like RUINED me in the best way.

  2. I too had a few issues with the Godstone part of the first book, though I adored the setting. I will certainly read Crown of Embers if it's as good as you say. I was not satisfied with the romance with Humberto, but clearly the one with Hector is much better.

    1. Ooh, I forgot to mention that I think Humberto was glossed over a bit in this book, but trust me on this when I saw I had NO problems with the romance in this book. Even the Godstone takes on a more burdensome role here, as Elisa leaves unintentional destruction in her way. The prices she's forced to pay and the tough choices she must make are really compelling.


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