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A Gutsy Sequel: A Review of Rae Carson’s “The Crown of Embers”

Goodreads.com Description: “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 foreign realms and even from 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 a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with. If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.”

My Thoughts:

My first word after finishing this book? Wow!

Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns series tackles the topics of religion and sorcery. Carson continues the story of a gutsy seventeen-year-old queen with The Crown of Embers.

The second installment in the series pushes the button a bit more when the “unholy” Inviernos are compared to Native Americans. Queen Elisa makes the comparison and then steps to the edge of the cliff when she realizes her people are interlopers. Talk about bringing a history to fiction! Just wow!

I loved The Crown of Embers. It was stronger than the first book in the series. Gone was the sense of reading a historical romance. Queen Elisa is maturing and testing the waters with her sovereignty. The people around her are tested as well. In life, some people change for the good and some for the bad. We see those changes in this tale also–Ximena, Belen and even Storm. What’s nice is that Carson reveals those changes at the right time. The reader doesn’t figure things out ahead of Queen Elisa. She’s the queen, after all. Her subjects shouldn’t be smarter.

Lots of truths come out in this installment: 1) Not everyone has your best interest at heart (Queen check your court and those closest to you.), 2) Don’t underestimate who you may love (Queen he’s under your nose), 3) You’re stronger than you think (Queen seek out your strengths), 4) Friends can be found even amongst your enemies (Queen sometimes your greatest ally is cloaked).

Once again, I applaud Carson for writing such a diverse, enriching tale. This series should be considered a classic and on a Must Read list for high schoolers.

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