As I’m awful at writing synopses, I’ll borrow one from Goodreads (the original one is here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10816908-the-crown-of-embers):
“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.”
I have to confess that the religious content of this series bothers me at times. The amount of praying unnerves me. And I also think it is a bit weird for Elisa to keep touching her navel (that’s where her Godstone is) whenever she prays, it just doesn’t seem natural. Then again, she has had it for her whole life.
As far as heroines go, Elisa can’t claim to be among the best out there. Especially at the beginning of Crown of Embers, she is constantly being pushed into doing things she doesn’t really want to. And the ease with which her schedule was altered without her being consulted was astounding. It was a bit odd to see her go back to a submissive role after the events of the first book. Once out of the palace, she slowly goes back to a more assertive role. Let’s see which side of her is stronger in the next book.
I was truly glad to see her dealing with Ximena. From the first book, I didn’t quite like the old lady. I do believe that she started out with good intentions, but when those intentions began to clash with Elisa’s desires and plans, they grew thwarted. Actually, Ximena was, in my opinion, one of Elisa’s ‘bullies’. But I don’t think she will back down in the next book. It’s one of the things I’m curious about in the final book of this trilogy.
While the first book didn’t have much romance, this one has a lot more. But a word of warning: it’s very frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hector to bits, but the guy need to let go just a tiny little bit. In spite of Elisa not being my favorite heroine out there, I don want her to get a happy ending, in which she doesn’t pray so much (loads of better things to be done instead, if you catch my drift).
Plotwise, I can’t help but feel that not much progress has been made. There was a lot of moving about and travelling, but it doesn’t feel like any real progress was made. This book feels much more like character growth and development, especially when it comes to Elisa. There were several scenes showing that someone wanted Elisa dead, but it was only at the end that she finally put things together, so that aspect of the plot was not as developed as it could have been. I’m hoping that the next book will be more focused on plot rather than character development.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5