crown of embers

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

This sequel to the amazing The Girl of Fire and Thorns continues the story of Elisa and other beloved characters from the first novel.  It is the story of Elisa’s new role as queen of a country after war.  They won the war against the Inviernos only through Elisa’s use of the Godstone that she bears as part of her body.  The war may have been won, but her enemies are all around her as spies and perhaps even manipulating her own government.  After several attempts at her life, Elisa heads on a new journey; this time searching for a source of power using the guidance of her Godstone.  It is a harrowing journey that will put all of those closest to her at risk.  It is also a journey that readers will be thrilled to take with her thanks to the action, strong heroine and romance packed into this book.

Carson has done it again.  I was looking forward to this book so much, but so often my favorite series slip in the sequels.  This time, the second is as strong as the first.  I love the fact that Elisa is brave, strong and almost fearless, yet at the same time has achingly large doubts about so much of her life.  She is complicated as are so many of the secondary characters around her.  Carson invests much in each of them, making them unique and interesting too.  So many could be spun into their own novels.

The world building here is exceptional.  Carson has created a place of political intrigue, murder and deceit that would be too much without the equally strong message of the power of friendship, the ability to do what is right, and the love that flows throughout the novel.  Beautifully realized, the setting is made all the more vivid thanks to the characters who populate it.

Highly recommended, this book will thrill fans of the first novel.  Get this series into the hands of teens who love Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series.  Appropriate for ages 15-18.