Author: Rae Carson
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pub Date: September 2012, HarperCollins
Source: Purchased from BN.com
Synopsis (from BN.com)
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 trail 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.
I was glad that I didn't have to wait too long after reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns before I could read the sequel, The Crown of Embers. Of course, the downside is now I will be waiting nearly a year to read the final book in the trilogy, but this is the price I pay for enjoying series books! And given just how much I loved this second book (even more than the first), the wait is going to be long indeed.
I found it impossible not to get swept away in Elisa's adventure this time around. Rae Carson sets the pace from the beginning and simply doesn't let up. Every time I thought I should put the book down and turn out the light to go to sleep, the chapter would end and I would decide that I just had to know what was going to happen next. Elisa continues to grow as a character .Yes, she has moments of weakness and insecurity early on, but she learns from them and becomes a better leader for them. I enjoyed her much more in this book, particularly because she didn't dwell on her physical imperfections so much this time around. I have really been impressed with Carson's overall character development and interaction in these books.
I will say that as much as I loved this book, I did think the resolution of Elisa's quest was a little contrived and almost too neat and pretty. I admit that I was a bit disappointed, but only mildly in comparison with my genuine love of the overall story, characters, and adventure. (But it was enough to knock a star off of my rating.) I also loved the building romance for Elisa, even though it left you wanting more. I guess I enjoy the suspense of it! This relationship was something I could see signs of in the first book and I am so glad that Carson took it to the next level (well, sort of to the next level?) in the second book. Though, of course, we won't know how it all turns out until the conclusion (darn cliffhangers)!
Be warned, if you decide to read this series, while this book sets the stage for the last book, it is a major cliffhanger and the wait will be frustrating! I have resigned myself to the long wait by looking forward to re-reading the first two books before the third is published. That way, I can enjoy the entire series from start to finish. Bottom line: If you enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I would be very surprised if you didn't enjoy The Crown of Embers, as well.