“The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)” by Rae Carson
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Wow, Carson really stepped up her game. Elisa is awesome in the last book. She went from being the pudgy princess to a leader of an army. Now she’s the queen! Yes, she’s still a bit unsure of herself but it’s to be expected. She’s only queen because her husband died. Despite all that, she’s doing her best. In a lot of ways she reminds me of Bitterblue. They’re young but they will do the best they can for their people. I loved that she’s no longer a sulky teenager. She doesn’t dwell on the way she looks. She’s in love with a guy but she keeps going on with what needs to be done. She’s smart, strong, and gets things done. What’s not to love about that?
The politics developed beautifully in this book. There’s unrest naturally in the country because they don’t feel like Elisa is the real queen. You’ve got royalty from neighboring areas trying to cut in and do what’s best for them. The Inviernos are trying to take over. It is a lot to take in but it works very well.
And then there’s Hector. Wow oh wow. I definitely fell for him. He’s strong and fiercely loyal. He does what is right without any thought to himself. He really wants what is best for Elisa. All of the scenes with him and Elisa highlight how to do a slow burn romance right. Everything between them felt so natural. I might have continually yelled at my book for the two of them to kiss already. I’m never any good at expressing why I like things so I’ll just give you this gem:
“I love you the way a drowning man loves air. And it would destroy me to have you just a little.”
I really appreciated that this book didn’t feel like a rehashing of the first book. It moved the story along but it was a solid story on its own. There were a good amount of twists. I had no idea where we were going with the story and I loved that.
The bottom line? Fantastic. I think I liked this more than the first book and I really enjoyed the first book.