Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: The Crown of Embers

Title: The Crown of Embers
Author: Rae Carson
Part of a series? Fire and Thorns, #2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Length: 410 pages (hardcover)
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: Library hardcover

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Opening Line:

My entourage of guards struggles to keep pace as I fly down the corridors of my palace.

Wasn't as epic as the first line from The Girl of Fire and Thorns but it certainly does its job of establishing the setting (a palace, royalty) and the kind of princess Elisa is (one that is constantly on the move with no regard for her safety). So, not a bad line all around.

SQUEE-worthy: Like in Fire and Thorns, I love how Carson continues to explore the themes of faith, prayer, and God. Granted, there's a much stronger fantasy element in Embers but I find that it only adds to the complexity of the plot. I was also REALLY impressed by the romance aspect in this book. It wasn't cheesy. It wasn't insta-love. It wasn't chaste to the point of cousinhood. (Um, what?) It was SWOON-WORTHY. Not in a "Ooh, Edward, you're so sparkly and pale and *swoon* I just wanna have glittery babies witchu" kind of way. But in a way that makes sense, in a way that feels real and raw and powerful. I kid you not, my heart ached for Elisa and her Mystery Man (I don't want to give it away if you haven't read the first book!!), but I think part of why I feel so emotionally invested is because the romantic timeframe is realistic. It's the furthest thing from insta-love; it's all tense and angsty and emotionally charged and GAH. SO GOOD.

"Meh" Moments: There was a bit of a plot lull about 30% of the way into the story. Things start to slow down a bit as Carson gets into the political grit of Elisa's situation, but I promise you that things will pick up past the halfway point. Persevere, and you won't regret it!

For fans of: Anything by Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce.

Buy or Borrow? A highly recommended read! And I actually think that I will purchase the entire series once the third book is out.

Let's Chat!

What's your take on thinly-veiled religious elements in fantasy literature?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Can't-Wait-YA-Books of 2013

Happy New Year, friends! My sincerest apologies for failing to post much during the holidays. No wonder so many bloggers put up a leave-of-absence note on December 22nd; in between all the food, company, and this flu bug going around, there's just no time for blogging! Nevertheless, I'm back, slightly rejuvenated (came down with a cold... boooo), and ready to kick off the year with some of my most anticipated YA new releases of 2013!