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Friday, November 9, 2012

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Title: The Crown of Embers
Author: Rae Carson
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 18 2012
Publishing House: Greenwillow Books
ISBN: 9780062026514
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked

Summary: 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 is to be 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.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


I packed this one in my bag when I was bound for Tokyo. I was hesitant to pack this one, because of two things: 1.) I may not finish it in one sitting. I knew that the plane would have in-flight entertainment (Hello, Brave, and The Bodyguard!) so I didn't really get to crack it open until the longer flight from Tokyo to Cebu (No more reading material when we hopped on the plane from Cebu to Manila. Boo.) 2.) I knew I would want to savor the book like one would a decadent dessert. When I was doing some packing, Nicole convinced me to drop the other books and go for this one instead.

And because you know, Hector.

So The Crown of Embers, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

The Crown of Embers is the second book of the Fire and Thorns trilogy. We meet the now-delightful Elisa who tries to rule the kingdom of her late husband Alejandro, and master her fate as a bearer of the Godstone. Readers will be reacquainted with the likes of Ximena, Hector (swoonswoonswoon), Belen, Mara, and some of the other characters from the first book. as Elisa journeys to save her kingdom -and herself- for once and for all.

I'm very much impressed with Elisa's development - from a simpering, stress-eating, and clumsy girl to a dignified, strong-hearted, and clever woman. The second book was quite a leap from the first book and every word, and every page left me breathless. I kid you not - I felt like I wasn't reading fast enough to satisfy myself, but I also felt like I wanted to slow down and savor every sentence. 

Now, allow me to indulge myself in fangirling over the Captain of the Royal Guard, Hector. Hector is the ultimate dreamboat. He's protective, supportive, and watching his steely resolve break when it comes to Elisa just makes me squeal in delight. You guys have no idea how much I wanted to scream inside the aircraft every time Hector was mentioned. It was so bad I wanted to shove the book into the face of the nosy old Japanese woman seated diagonally from me and shout, "TO HECTOR!!!" With that, Hector and Elisa are my favorite couple. I knew that they were meant to be together as soon as I found out about Hector's existence, and read about his pledge to her in the latter part of the first book. (Nicole and I were early Hector fans, you see. But she claims that I am more obsessed with him, as you guys can probably tell.) Every time they were together, I just felt like there were fireworks going off somewhere and the world was all right. (You can only imagine how we reacted to the events later on in the book.) 

How good was this book? (With all my raving and whatnot, is this question really necessary?) It was fantastic! It was so good it made me excuse myself to use the airplane lavatory to pee. And I have never peed inside an aircraft (Germs, germs, and more germs everywhere.) in literally a decade, no matter how far my destination. (Hector - This. Is. All. Your. Fault.) 

Carson has managed to balance the elements of fantasy, romance, and intrigue so well, that you can't help but feel involved in the magical world of Elisa. The pacing was excellent, and the characters were like friends I wanted to visit again and again. There is no doubt that this is a book that I will revisit soon in the near future, only to fall in love with it all over.

If the third book promises to deliver the same results as this one, this could very well be my favorite series hands down.

Indulge yourself with this fantasy read and let Elisa's journey envelop you. I promise you won't be sorry you did.

(Rae Carson, if you do get the chance to drop by and read this and we happen to have a handy time machine that we can use only once to get the latest installment of only ONE book, we'd jump into it and use it on the third installment. We are dead serious.)


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