The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)

Featured
 
5.0
 
4.8 (4)
1959 2
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
September 18, 2012
ISBN
9780062026514
Buy This Book
      
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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Incredible
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I devoured this book in a single day because I couldn't make myself slow down. I had high hopes going into it because I really loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and I'm happy to say that Crown of Embers surpassed my expectations. This is a fully realized fantasy rife with intrigue, emotion, courage, suspense, and betrayal.

Everyone should read this series.

I love that every character is three-dimensional and nuanced. I love that I can see the story happening against a beautifully described backdrop. And I really love that the character arc for Elisa is once again full of subtle shifts, flaws, and moments of brilliance. Reading this book is like revisiting an old friend and finding her full of fascinating new stories.

The plot is layered and complex enough to keep the reader completely engaged. The relationships are complicated and compelling. And the struggle between faith and discovering your own strength is portrayed with balance.

I could just rave on and on about this book. It's incredible. It deserves a spot on my favorites shelf and will be a book that I will re-read many times. If you haven't tried this series, please do. It's a gem.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

4 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.8
Plot 
 
4.8  (4)
Characters 
 
5.0  (4)
Writing Style 
 
4.8  (4)
Already have an account? or Create an account
:D
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Great series!
Good Points
Rae Carson can do no wrong!!!

O.M.G!!!!!! What the hell, talk about torture!!!!!! So much happened! I don't know where to begin! Seriously, Rae Carson has created an excellent series!!! Can't wait for the third book! :D

*fan girl inside is still screaming her head off!*
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
crown of embers
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I’m just going to start this review by saying that The Crown of Embers is about fifty billion times better than The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and considering I really really REALLY liked the latter, that is saying something. Just to illustrate my state of mind while reading this book, I give you—The 6 Stages of Embers:

Stage 1: *shifty eyes* This is too good to be true, right? Best first chapter of a novel ever! Elisa, why are you so cool?
Stage 2: Ah, this is AWESOME! Elisa be my friend. OMG, politics! I love books about court politics. HECTOR! Politics, politics, politics, assassination attempts. I LOVE THIS BOOK, right?
Stage 3: Unresolved Sexual Tension. Do it. Kiss already, dammit! Holy cow why is this so brilliant?!
Stage 4: Ope, I knew it. Carson, you let me down. Boo!
Stage 5: HECTOR!!! And dayum, Elisa you are sexy when you’re bossy. Get it, gurl.
Stage 6: …oh. It’s over? But but but…no! What about Hector?!

Right. So as you can see, for the majority of this book I was riding on an intense high of “this is so awesome!” which is always fun. I definitely need to find more books that make me feel like that. But, sadly, just because I liked The Crown of Embers better than its prequel didn’t mean it was perfect. And this book wasn’t perfect for me, as evidenced by Stage 4 of my reading experience. And, since I’m getting the bad out of the way first to focus on the overwhelming awesome, we’ll discuss Stage 4 now.

So, my big problem with The Girl of Fire and Thorns was the religious aspect. Because, essentially, Rae Carson borrowed wholesale from Judeo-Christian ideology and plopped it down in her supposed “fantasy” world. Now doesn’t it seem to you that if you were going to write a fantasy novel you’d, you know, want to have fantasy elements in it? It seems inexcusably lazy to just steal Christian concepts and scripture. Lazy, I say. I was really relieved, then, when the first half of The Crown of Embers revealed no copying of the Bible. Really, it’s not the themes and messages I object to so much as the blatant plagiarism of passages from the Bible. Because that’s beyond lazy. And guess what? After the halfway mark, The Crown of Embers straight-up plagiarized multiple verses from the Bible. To give you an idea, Carson stole from the book of Ruth, Psalms, the Gospels, and some other New and Old Testament books that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Full, nearly verbatim phrases. Straight from the Bible. Not even kidding.

Stealing words from another source—no matter what that source is, then inserting those exact same words into your book and passing them off as your own. Is that not the very definition of plagiarism? It is, yes? There is no justification for plagiarism. It’s inexcusable and I will forever hold a grudge against Rae Carson for being A PLAGIARIST.

But, as frustrated as that whole lazy world-building, cheap trick mythology makes me, The Crown of Embers is still an extremely good book, though I must say the last 100 pages or so felt a bit…off. But anyway.

This book starts with a flourish. Elisa is running around town doing queenly things when BAM, assassination attempt. And then in the first 10 chapters, there are 2 more assassination attempts and other bad things. Obviously, this girl has problems, and the biggest one is how much she’s attracted to her hunky Commander of the Royal Guard, Lord Hector. Hector, by the way, wins all the awards for genuine, swoonable YA love interest. He just wins.

The first half of The Crown of Embers deals mostly with court politics and scheming lords, etc. And that, honestly, is my favorite type of plot technique in any given fantasy novel. It makes me giddy and makes me think about people and I love it when there are poisonings and stabbings and midnight trysts. Yes I do. The second half of the novel deals with Elisa sneaking south to go on a quest so that she can commune with God more closely—and that’s where the excessive Bible-quoting comes in. That aspect, honestly, was just as well done as the court politics section, but I got tired of it a bit more quickly. Quests and adventurous journeys aren’t as interesting to me, personally. And the ridiculous amount of unresolved sexual tension between Elisa and Hector was driving me batty. Batty in a good way, obviously.

I will now take this opportunity to explain why Elisa is a fantastic female protagonist. #1: she’s not beautiful but she doesn’t spend all her time complaining about how ugly she is. #2: she’s smart and brave and proactive. #3: her sense of humor is self-depreciating but not in a depressing, shoot-me-now kind of way. #4: THIS SCENE—

I clench my hands into fists and yell, “Hector!”
He whips around.
“You were never, never, going to be just a diversion to me.”
He sighs, nodding. “That was unfair of me,” he says. “I’m sorry—”
“And you will kiss me again. That and more. Count on it” (pg. 359).

Yep. Bossy Elisa is sexy. And gets a big round of applause from yours truly. Winning.

So, in the end, all I have to say is this: The Crown of Embers is pretty darn good. Except for the Biblical plagiarism. But I suspect that Carson got away with that since the majority of her readers won’t be able to point fingers at aforementioned plagiarism, not being familiar enough with the Bible. That puts me in the minority. So if you liked The Girl of Fire and Thorns and enjoy passionate protagonists and action-intensive plotlines, read this book. It has that and more.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Possibly the best sequel ever written.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I knew one thing about Rae Carson's The Crown of Embers going into it. Without discussing the details of the story, every reader I stumbled across who'd read it before me mentioned the romance. On more than one occasion, it was even called "steamy." Considering the disastrous romances of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa, seventeen year old queen and bearer of the Godstone, is due a break.

It would be a mistake to call the novel a romance in the sense that there's a great deal more going on than passionate glances and fervent kisses and the like. Elisa has inherited a kingdom ravaged by war, desperately poor, and politically unstable. She is raising a young prince, entertaining suitors, and uncovering the truth behind obscure prophecies that seem to center directly around her. There are daggers and arrows, assassins and desert caravans, and ships traversing stormy seas. And let's not forget magic. In short, this book is epic.

But it is true that the most powerful story you're left with at the closing of the final page is the heady passion between Elisa and the man she loves, as their friendship matures each step of the journey. Second books often suffer from lack of narrative, serving as a bridge from the opening story in book one to its conclusion in book three. It's the love story that keeps The Crown of Embers together, unifying each disparate plot twist with one steadily growing theme.

Beyond that, Elisa herself is a character you want to stay with through anything and everything. She's a flawed character, but so very strong. Her strength is in her intelligence and her courage. But she is not afraid to rely on those she trusts. She's a good example of love allowing you to be vulnerable without making you weak. Nothing about this series is moralizing, but I cannot help but feel like a reader could learn a great deal from these characters about wisdom, courage, and power - the very things Elisa asks for in the sacrament of pain, the lessons she herself takes from her own experiences.

You must know before you begin that the series does not end here. Much more than with the first book, The Crown of Embers concludes with a serious cliffhanger. You'll be aching for book three. So much happens between Elisa's marriage to Alejandro in the opening pages of The Girl of Fire and Thorns and the final scene of The Crown of Embers, that you'll probably have to reread them both before the next release. So carve out the time now, and gather yourself a book club. The Bitter Kingdom is coming in the fall of 2013.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Even Better Than Its Predecessor!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I am lucky in that I got to begin reading this book right after finishing The Girl of Fire and Thorns, because when that books was over, I knew I wanted more. What I got with The Crown of Embers was definitely more, so much more, until I was swelling and glimmering with the delight this story gives me. And when I had read the last word and closed the book, I sat still for a moment and said to myself: This is the part where I start screaming.

You know how sequels can be kinda scary, because if the first book was amazing, you worry that the second one might not measure up? Oh my god. I should have known that Rae Carson would blow my fears right out of the water. That screaming I was doing? It was tempered with grinning, because I loved this effing book, people!

Elisa encounters one disaster after another, and each one tests her further. Her grip of power over her kingdom is weakening, and it seems like the world is crumbling beneath her sometimes. She is surrounded by people who hold her up, people who want to tear her down, people who adore her, people who are out to kill her, and people she can’t seem to face for one reason or another. But that GIRL, she SURVIVES! And the Godstone helps her through. Never have I admired a deity the way I do the God in Elisa’s world. The power that thrums through her Godstone, guiding her, helping her, and healing her.

In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa grew into herself as a person. In The Crown of Embers, Elisa grows into a woman and into a real queen. I truly admire the amount of introspection and personal growth that surrounds the main character in this series. It feels so especially refreshing, so satisfying, so right. Rae Carson is an artful storyteller, and the way each and every piece and person is weaved through Elisa’s journey is incredible. I was a captive audience right up until the very end.

I think this is the first time I’ve rated a sequel higher than its predecessor. But, damn, this book was amazing. I can’t believe I have to wait so long for — *gulp* — The Bitter Kingdom. (How ominous does that sound? I’m squirming!)

[NOTE: I read this book as an ARC, borrowed from my sister, who receives many, many awesome things in her mailbox.]
Good Points
Great character growth, a tense but sweet romance, fascinating magical developments
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Sick Kids in Love
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Isabel has one rule: no dating. It’s easier―...
Pawns (The Wielders of Arantha)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Seven hundred years in the future, a powerful alien...
Perfectly Oblivious
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Cameron Bates (Cam) could have almost any girl at...
By Any Means Necessary
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Heart-wrenchingly honest, fans of Brandy Colbert and Nicola Yoon...
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal...
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA...
The Rift
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
As corporate greed is pitted against supernatural forces, two...
The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the last days of the twenty-first century, sea creatures...
Conceal, Don't Feel (Twisted Tales, #7)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other? ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling Divergent and Carve the Mark author Veronica Roth delivers...
Bernard Pepperlin
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The drowsy Dormouse from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland...
Vicarious
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the...
The Bookworm Crush
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This spinoff of The Replacement Crush featuring Amy and Toff...
The Unexpected Everything
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in...
What I Like About You
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can a love triangle have only two people in it?...
The Kinder Poison
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the magical kingdom of Orkena, Zahru has long dreamed...

Latest Member Reviews

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)
 
5.0
"I never wanted to be a superhero as a child, but I wanted to do heroic things. Tristan Strong epitomizes..."
Bernard Pepperlin
 
4.0
"Bernard Pepperlin is the doormouse from Alice in Wonderland. After being forced into a teapot, Bernard climbs out to find..."
The Squatchicorns: A Delightful Read
 
4.0
"In this chapter book, The Squatchicorns by Ellen Potter, the third book in a series about a friendship between a..."
The Cook and the King
 
4.0
"'The Cook and the King' by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by David Roberts, is a cute story that shows how working..."
Santa Mouse
 
4.5
"SANTA MOUSE is a cute rhyme about a mouse who did not have a name but does have a special..."
Silly Lullaby (Boynton on Board)
 
5.0
"Boynton is a hit with toddlers, and this is another charming book that makes it easy to see why. SILLY..."
Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray
 
4.5
"Nikki Tesla is an espionage novel for pre-teens. It’s exciting, engaging, and utterly unique. Nikki Tesla is a..."
Penny and Her Sled
 
4.5
"PENNY AND HER SLED is a chapter book for early readers that follows a mouse named Penny. Penny has been..."
Twins
 
5.0
"TWINS is an adorably charming picture book that celebrates close friends, siblings, and twins (whether identical or not). A boy..."
Have You Seen My Blankie?
 
5.0
"Take a magical journey with Princess Alice in this delightful picture book. HAVE YOU SEEN MY BLANKIE? tells the story..."
Dias y Dias/Days and Days
 
4.0
"'Dias y Dias, Days and Days' by Ginger Foglesong Guy, illustrated by Rene King Moreno, is a simple story that..."
The Fowl Twins (The Fowl Twins, #1)
 
5.0
"Witty, clever, and full of mischief, THE FOWL TWINS is a spin-off of ARTEMIS FOWL that easily stands on its..."
Kai and the Monkey King (Brownstone's Mythical Collection, #3)
 
5.0
"KAI AND THE MONKEY KING is an engaging and thrilling installment in the Brownstone's Mythical Collection series. In this book,..."
The Rubicus Prophecy (The Witches of Orkney, #2)
 
3.5
"THE RUBICUS PROPHECY is an engaging second book in the WITCHES OF ORKNEY series that follows the same friends on..."
Fancy Nancy: Camp Fancy
 
5.0
"When Dad tells Nancy stories about when he and Mom used to go camping, Nancy knows it's something she has..."
A Warm Friendship
 
4.5
"A WARM FRIENDSHIP is a story of friendship and loss, celebrating the time that you have together. Squirrel finds Snowman..."
Hilda and the Mountain King (Hilda, #6)
 
5.0
"HILDA AND THE MOUNTAIN KING is an engaging and thrilling children's fantasy adventure. This graphic novel tells the story of..."
Good Night, Santa: A Magical Christmas Story
 
5.0
"GOOD NIGHT, SANTA is a simple but elegant book that celebrates the Christmas season, perfect for bedtime. The illustrations are..."
Jolly Jingly Christmas: The Best Christmas Book Ever!
 
5.0
"JOLLY JINGLY CHRISTMAS is a cute rhyming, lift-the-flap, musical, non-religious celebration of the season. Each of the five full page..."
Dear Sweet Pea
 
4.0
"Sweet Pea is in her last year of primary school (K-7th grade) and will be starting at secondary school the..."