Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .. Crown of Embers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just Finished Reading .. Crown of Embers

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Crown of Embers
By Rae Carson
Published by Greenwillow Books
on September 18, 2012

Source: ARC swapped with a friend





My summary: Since becoming a queen at age 17, Elisa has faced many trials and challenges. But there are even more to come. After repeated attempts on her life, Elisa must figure out whom to trust, how to rule, and where to learn about the special powers granted to her by her Godstone. She'll have to tread carefully, navigating court intrigue, enemies, and the perils of falling in love.

My take: If you read this blog regularly, you know that I'm not a big fantasy reader. My rule is this: if you're going to stick me in a strange place with a bunch of new stuff I have to keep straight, you better also offer me characters that win my heart and a strong plot with some exciting twists and turns. Yeah, I'm demanding like that.

So I always open fantasy books feeling a little bit grumbly. Crown of Embers starts with a dramatic bang, then I had to remember what had been going on in book one -- there isn't much recap, and it took me a few chapters to orient myself.

But then, WOW -- I was hooked. Suddenly, all the reasons I loved Girl of Fire and Thorns came rushing back to me, and I read through breakfast and forgot to take a shower.

One of my favorite things about Girl of Fire and Thorns was its character development. I love a kickbutt girl as much as anyone, but what I love even more is when a book shows us that a kickbutt girl is made, not born. In Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa starts out sheltered and naive. She's married off to a king who doesn't love her, is thrown into court life, and has a lot to figure out.

In Crown of Embers, she has to learn how to be not just a queen, but a ruler. She has to learn how to control the power in her Godstone. She has to decide with whom to ally herself. And she has to do this before mysterious assassins succeed in killing her.

I was surprised at the turn that the romance took in Girl of Fire and Thorns. Really surprised. As Crown of Embers started, I could see right away where the romance train was headed. Let's just say that having one character teach another to spar is getting them halfway to first base in my book. But then this nascent love story took on some very unexpected twists and turns, which is exactly what a good fictional romance should do. Well done!

The worldbuilding in these books is excellent. In my opinion, worldbuilding is the quicksand of fantasy writing. Give us too little detail and the story seems thin and confusing. Give us too much, and we're bogged down in unnecessary information.

If you've never read this series, I highly recommend you try Girl of Fire and Thorns. It's $2.99 right now on Kindle !

If you've read and loved Girl of Fire and Thorns, I think you'll love Crown of Embers!  If you're dying to read it, you might want to stop by Freebie Friday tomorrow. Just saying!

Tell me what you think in comments? Have you read either of these? How do you feel about reading fantasy?

29 comments:

  1. Ah!!! I have high hopes about this sparring lesson, and the romance a'brewing ... You better know I'm stopping by tomorrow ;o)

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    Replies
    1. It's a goooood romance. I was very happy about that part.

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    2. WARNING SPOILER BELOW. DO NOT READ NEXT COMMENT IF YOU PLAN TO READ GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS.

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  2. I enjoyed the first book (well, after the kind of slow first part) and I'm very interested to see where the romance is going to go especially as it seemed that her love was killed off in the first book (hopefully I'm remembering that right).

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    1. This one does not start slow at all. And yeah..

      SPOILER ALERT!! IF YOU HAVE NOT READ BOOK ONE, DO NOT KEEP READING

      ...you're right.

      Delete
  3. Great Review Jen! I saw the first book at my bookstore and I still don't know if I will like it
    Ahhh! Lately I have been on a book reading slump! Also I picked up Speechless to get me through loads of reading this week!
    Happy Reading Jen! Do you s till want the button? :)

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    1. I have three words for you: 2.99 on Kindle!!!!

      I am doing a blog redesign and I'm getting a button. I mean, it's about time, right?????

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  4. YAY! So glad you like this book! I adored it.

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  5. I have been really iffy about this book. I don't tend to be big on fantasy so I haven't rushed out to get this one. Not to say I won't like it, I have enjoyed plenty of fantasy books, they just aren't my first choice. Great review!

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    1. Me either, but I really love this series. Highly recommend you try it if you have a chance!

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  6. Okay, I totally want to read this series now. I want to see a tough girl made not born, and I love the intrigue that your review hinted at. Plus.... sparring is halfway to second base HAHAHAHA.

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    1. You are a saucy girl, Steph.

      I thought a lot about what base I should put. ..... sparring has body contact plus a lot of sweating. I'll have to think so me more about this important issue.

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  7. "Let's just say that having one character teach another to spar is getting them halfway to first base in my book." LMAO

    I'm not a fan of the fantasy genre either. I get to bogged down but I have read a few good ones of late.

    I'm still not he fence about starting this one but you've made a good case for reading it :-)

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  8. I think I might need to read this series now! I've had my eye on it, but as usual, I'm hesitant to start something I'm not sure I'll like. Maybe I'll take the chance with this series since you enjoy it so much and it's out of your comfort genres :)

    Thanks for the review Jen!

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  9. I have heard so many amazing reviews about this series and I have been wanting to read it for a while. I am not against fantasy but, for some reason I just don't gravitate towards it when choosing books but, if it's written well I will read it and it really sounds like this series is. Great review!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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    1. I feel exactly the same way. I admire fantasy writers to the nth degree, because I think what they do is amazing, but I just usually long to curl up with a fantasy book.
      But this series is really worth reading!!!

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  10. I haven't read first one yet, but it sounds like I should. There are just too many great books and not enough hours in the day.
    Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  11. I've heard great things about the first book! I'm not much of a fantasy reader either. I do like some but not many. I tried to read Throne of Glass last night cause everyone has been raving...well I was so bored I just scanned and skipped to the romance parts and finished the book in a half hour. lol

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    1. Ha ha ha. I just finished a book that required a lot of skimming. It just wasn't for me.

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  12. I've never read either this or Girl of Fire and Thorns but I think I'll search for them as they sound really interesting. I'm fantasy lover, cause I love everything that's new and unknown. :) Great review! :)

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  13. I think I'll have to reacquaint myself with the first book of this series before reading Crown of Embers ... I remember LOVING Girl of Fire and Thorns, though! It was one of my favourite books and I'm like you, not a huge fan of fantasy.

    Thanks for sharing -- great review!

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  14. Squee! I'm reading this right now and am about half way through:) I am loving the new romance, but also loving that the lost love from Bk#1 is still mentioned and not forgotten (Gah, that destroyed me when he died!) and when Ximena first said "my sky" I almost cried a little. I've missed these characters so much:)

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  15. I always enjoy GOOD Fantasy. Just WOW me & I'm happy.

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  16. I got to work yesterday and Crown of Embers was in my in-box. I think I made a squeal of excitement. I loved, LOVED the first book and cannot wait to read this one. I've always loved Elisa as a main character and now i get to spend time with her again! Thanks for the great review!

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  17. I am the same way, I like fantasy but typically only read high fantasy once or twice a year, this sounds delightful and I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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