Thursday, December 6, 2012
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
If you like: quests * magic * female protagonists
The Crown of Embers is the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns (see my review here), and shows Elisa’s continued growth as ruler of her kingdom. The threats on her life have not lessened since she harnessed the power of her godstone and defeated the Invierne invaders. She also must continue to work towards finding and completing her mission from God. Balancing these two responsibilities leads her on a secret journey to the south of her lands,
in the hopes of solving a holy mystery and obtaining the power she needs to protect her people.
Gone is the scared girl we met in The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Though she has yet to become the confident leader her people need, Elisa no longer worries about whether a coconut pastry will make people think less of her. She does not have the experience that she needs to rule without question, but she is learning quickly to utilize her intellect and maneuver the delicacies of court. More often than not her cunning resolves a situation in her favor, and helps her to move forward. Though the danger is constant, she never sits back and allows others to die for her without at least making a contribution to her own safety. Additionally, Elisa is beginning to explore the capabilities of her godstone, and building her own confidence along with her knowledge.
So often a quest involves a long and tedious journey where little is accomplished along the way. That is not the case in The Crown of Embers. Many of the secrets of the powers of the godstone are revealed. In the last book it often provided comfort or warning, but now it provides necessary skills and abilities. Prayer is useful, not just a comfort. This adds to Elisa’s charisma as a heroine. In spite of this, Elisa continues to have the same youthful worries of many seventeen-year-olds. Faced with choosing a new husband, she must struggle between doing what is best for the kingdom and the hope that she could find comfort in her new companion. She often struggles with fate, and hopes that she can enjoy her life as well as serve her people and her god. Elisa is a strong leader because of this. Though her actions are often selfless, she maintains a balance in her life that is not often seen. Though she is willing to die for her people, she does not see that as the only outcome, or that doing so means she should isolate herself. This balance endears her to the reader, and is captivating from beginning to end.
If you feel the pull of destiny drawing you closer, read The Crown of Embers.
Carson, Rae. The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns). New York: Greenwillow Books, 2012. Kindle Edition.