The Crown of Embers - Rae Carson Another great sequel that easily outruns the first book in series. First I should probably confess that I’ve read The Girl of Fire and Thorns in May 2012 and therefore forgot almost everything about it. Even when Elisa recollected a few incidents from book one, it all remained hazy to me. But that didn’t spoil this book at all, it’s a story strong enough to stand on its own. And while I had a few issues with The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this one didn’t disappoint me.

*Beware of spoilers for book one!* The story takes off a few months after the first book ended. Elisa now leads Brisadulce on her own with the help of her court that she can’t trust. There are traitors and enemies lurking around every corner and Elisa finds herself fighting for her life. Her country and people are still recovering from war and they’re becoming increasingly unsatisfied with Elisa’s reign. She’s also learning to control her Godstone’s power and realizes she could be The Chosen One. With the help of her guard’s captain, Hector, and her two maids, Ximena and Mara, she takes a perilous journey across the sea to fulfill the prophecy.

The story is full of intense moments, without a single moment of boredom. From beginning to end, I found myself turning the pages one after another. I actually liked the court intrigue, even though some enemies were downright obvious and Elisa didn’t saw what was right in front of her. While there were a few predictable turns, story still managed to surprise, especially with the ending which I really didn’t see coming. I love it when author isn’t afraid to kill off a few characters, and Carson already surprised me with her harsh turn of events in book one, and she continues with it in this sequel.

I had a few issues with Elisa in [b:The Girl of Fire and Thorns|10429092|The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)|Rae Carson||13282366], because she had a very low self-esteem. She wasn’t skinny and she referred to her as “a pig” a few times. But after she lost her weight, she became more confident and I disliked this connection, I wish Elisa would be a great, confident leader despite her looks. It would be nice to have not-so-perfect heroine for a change. But anyway, while Elisa develops as a character in first book, she really grows up in The Crown of Embers. She surprised me a few times with her wisdom and great thinking. She became very likeable character. I also liked Hector a lot, I enjoyed watching their trusting friendship become a great romance. There was no insta-love, yay! The story made me smile a few times, mainly because of dialogue between Mara and Elisa, I think these scenes were my favorite.

I’m glad I gave The Crown of Embers a chance, even if the first book didn’t impress me that much. Carson managed to avoid several mistakes that she made in book one and I really hope The Bitter Kingdom will live up to my now-higher expectations. This time I won’t wait too long to read it, since it comes out it a few weeks and The Crown of Embers ended with big cliffhanger. The author is full of surprises and I hope the ending to this trilogy will be amazing!

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