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Review – The Crown of Embers October 9, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: The Crown of Embers

Author: Rae Carson

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0062026514

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

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 both foreign realms and 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 the trail of long-forgotten–and forbidden–clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who–despite everything–she is falling in love with.

If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

Review:

Elisa is now trying to consolidate her power as Queen of Joya d’Arena. She’s undermined from other members of her quorum. There’s also a threat of Invierne spreading across the land once again. She sets out on a holy mission to seek a magical power to once and for all give her all the strength she’ll ever need.

If anything, this second book in the Fire and and Thorns series was even better then the first and I loved the first. Elisa character evolved as you read on. You have to remember, she’s the queen of her country and a war hero at the age of seventeen. That in itself is remarkable. So if she’s malleable and pliable at first, it’s understandable. But by the end of the book she manages to find the will to stand up for what she believes in and become the queen her country needs.

One of the things that I still love about Elisa in this book is that she’s still a normal girl. Although she might have lost some in the previous book, she’s still a little overweight. In fact her predilection for pastries is well known at court. She’s still not a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Elisa became even more real to me because of those qualities and I loved her for it.

Elisa is also falling in love with Hector, the Captain of her Royal Guards. The romance is natural and it progresses slowly. No insta-love here! I loved reading about Hector and Elisa! I think I’ve become a romance fan. If you’ve read my blog for a long time then you know I wasn’t always a fan, but for this book it was my favorite part.

The story ends in a stupendous cliffhanger. It was well done though. I thought it was one of the best cliffhangers I’ve ever read. You could tell the book was just about to end and that you’d have to wait for the next book even though you were desperately hoping it wouldn’t happen. At least that’s how I felt. I’m desperately hoping the next book publishes sooner rather then later.

Review – The Girl of Fire and Thorns September 11, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Author: Rae Carson

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publish date: August 21, 2012

ISBN-13:  978-0062026507

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

Review:

There may be some spoilers in this review.

Elisa is the unlikely princess of Orovalle. She is overweight and insecure making her someone I instantly liked from the beginning of the book. She is also blessed with a Godstone which she feels she does not deserve. It portends a great destiny for her. A destiny that she feels she does not deserve.

After her marriage to Alejandro de Vega and her move to his kingdom Joya d’Arena, she eventually meets the rebel Humberto. Humberto is everything Alejandro is not. He’s warm and much more approachable. He’s also much more relaxed. It’s an interesting love triangle. There isn’t much romance between Alejandro and Elisa but there is the fact that they’re married. There is also the possibility that something could have grown between them. Whereas Elisa and Humberto spent much more time together and they were much closer in age as well. My heart was in my throat for the two of them throughout the book.

There wasn’t just romance either. The threat from Invierne is palpable. The Invierne themselves are mysterious and intriguing. The magic is exciting. The rebels that fight against them is thrilling. Through it all Elisa is brilliant. She truly shows her strengths and comes into her own. Her startling transformation was at once a little hard to swallow yet extremely admirable. I swayed between the two.

I really loved this book and the character development in it. There were a lot of surprising twists that I really didn’t see coming. Carson wasn’t afraid to go to dark places with this book. She also showed how much strength she can imbue a character with. I truly look forward to the next book in the series.