Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Crown of Embers

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
4/5 stars
Greenwillow, 2012
410 pages
YA Fantasy

Source: Library

Warning: SPOILERS for book one

This sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns has been highly anticipated by many including myself. However after reading some disappointing second books this year, I was nervous to pick it up despite reassurances from Jen Ryland among others. In the end, I liked this book well enough but immediately after finishing it, I started reading The Friday Society and, well, I liked that one a lot more.

I just had trouble clicking with this book. It's not a bad second book; in fact, it has a lot of positives but it didn't spark my interest. Once I finally had it in my hands, I opened it eagerly but I almost had to force myself to continue to the next chapter.

What I still liked was Elisa, who is now ruling as queen after the death of her husband. She is very timid, as a foreigner not prepared for reigning in her own right and faces many trials, both internally and externally. Her greatest strength, although she doesn't seem to realize it initially, is her heart and compassion. She mostly wants to give people second chances and she wants to trust them even when they are in suspicious circumstances. Even those who hurt her in the first book have a chance at redemption.

Something I had mixed feelings about was the romance. Don't get me wrong, I quite like Elisa's romantic interest (I love how honorable he is and committed to her as queen as well as a person) but I found her dithering over him annoying. She kept saying she couldn't marry him, she couldn't be with him but for those who have read the book, what does she end up doing?

The part I liked least was how long it took for anything to really happen (I felt). Early on it seemed that Elisa would go on some kind of quest, leaving her palace. I love court intrigue but quests are fun as well so I spent a lot of time waiting for that part. Once it did finally happen, I was very happy and loved the intense magical action during those scenes. Yes, there is a lot of buildup and okay maybe Elisa almost gets assassinated pretty early on but then she has to recover and it just wasn't as page-turning as I would have liked.

Cover: I like that it's darker than the first since the situations are getting darker as well.


  1. I read the first one a few months ago, knowing that the follow-up was coming out soon. I didn't love it like so many other people did, but thought I might still give this one a try to see if it picked up. However, the problems you had with this one are the problems I had with the first one, so I think I will skip it. Thanks for the honest review. (I need more GREAT reads in my life!!!)

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  2. That happens to me sometimes. A book is objectively good and I know other people will like it but I just don't click with it.
    Hope The Friday Society is more your kind of book!

  3. Oh gosh, I hope her romantic interest is that bodyguard from the first book (I don't remember his name...or even if he was a bodyguard. Well, he was something like that! Maybe his name was Hector?) Thanks for the heads up about the quest part taking a long time to materialize. I think I'd probably have been frustrated and impatient without that warning.

  4. I read the first one, and apparently I need to get reading this one too. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever


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