The Crown of Embers. Book Review

The Crown of Embers UKTHE CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson

Gollancz. p/b. £16.99

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Elisa defeated the animagi and became a queen. She said goodbye to many loved ones and learned to value herself along the way. But where the animagi fell, more are rising up in challenge, and it seems they will make any sacrifice for their cause. Now, Elisa’s seventeenth birthday is looming and with that comes a chance for her people to see their queen, and the bearer of the Godstone, in public. But being out in the open no longer feels safe and Elisa’s enemies are growing by the day.

As well as trying to stay alive, negotiate the politics of the kingdom and be a good queen, Elisa has taken the young heir, Rosario, under her wing, giving her much more to protect and worry about than herself. On top of that she still does not understand nor know how to harness the healing and destructive powers of her Godstone, and unfortunately for Elisa it looks like all their lives depend on her learning fast.

The Crown of Embers retains the wonderful narrative voice of young Elisa, including the protagonist’s self-doubts and unwavering determination, which combine and develop throughout the story to make her the strong heroine she is. The worldbuilding continues to be sound and the locations different enough from the norm that Elisa’s world stays with the reader long after reading.

This is an excellent sequel continuing the story of Elisa’s rise to power and acceptance of her roles and purpose, but the pace slowed near the end and there was a lack of resolution to this part, meaning the next in the series will be needed before the reader feels fully satisfied. Elisa’s love life also became a stronger focus in this story and with that dominating, the political tensions and the magical elements took a back step and there was far more of an internal and reflective focus.