Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Triumphant Crown

The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns)
Elisa is a survivor. She has been married off to someone she had never met in a sham marriage to consolidate his power. She was kidnapped and dragged across the desert. She fell in love. She watched her love and her husband murdered. All this and she still has the courage to rule her new kingdom. But In Rae Carson's The Crown of Embers, nothing is easy for Elisa. But Elisa is a survivor.

As a young, new, foreign-born queen, Elisa isn't being taken seriously. Her court ignores her on a good day and mocks her on a bad day, her people think she is ineffectual, and her country's leaders and using her weakness to take advantage of the people. She is barely hanging on when an attempt is made on her life. Luckily, her guard Hector was able to stop the attack, but not without almost losing his own in the process. Elisa has always known her Godstone had magical powers, but she had never been able to tap into those powers until she almost lost Hector... it is then she realizes her feelings for Hector are more than just friendly, even if it is an impossible love.

As the assassination attempts continue, it becomes clear Elisa must do something drastic. When she learns of a source of power than can finally give her the power to protect her people from the sorcerer spies, she knows she must make the journey. But the journey is paved with spies, assassins, traitors, and danger. And if there is one thing Elisa struggles with, it is the loss of innocent lives at the expense of her safety. 

No sophomore slump here! Girl of Fire and Thorns was such a phenomenal story, and I hate to admit it, but I was worried this sequel wouldn't stand up to it. But have no fear! Crown of Embers is incredible. It picks off after the tragedy Elisa suffered and elevates her even further. And to think she started off the series a lost, frumpy girl who didn't get any respect from anyone despite her divine calling. Now she is a queen. A true queen. A queen who doesn't back down from danger and is willing to risk her life for the people she rules over. It is wonderful to see such a strong female role model like Elisa in young adult stories.

This is a fantastic series for anyone who like Kristen Cashore or Melina Marchetta. It is fantasy in the lightest sense, but contains so much depth you will be blown away by the world Carson built. Elisa is the kind of protagonist any young woman could look up to. And Hector? Holy Moses, Batman. Hector is an upstanding, respectful, amazing lead male who will make you have a Whitney and Costner moment! There is place for this series to go but up. It really is that good!

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