My first word after finishing this book? Wow!
Rae Carson's "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" series tackles the topics of religion and sorcery. Carson continues the story of a gutsy seventeen-year-old queen with "The Crown of Embers".
The second installment in the series pushes the button a bit more when the "unholy" Inviernos are compared to Native Americans. Queen Elisa makes the comparison and then steps to the edge of the cliff when she realizes her people are interlopers. Talk about bringing a history to fiction! Just wow!
I loved "The Crown of Embers". It was stronger than the first book in the series. Gone was the sense of reading a historical romance. Queen Elisa is maturing and testing the waters with her sovereignty. The people around her are tested as well. In life, some people change for the good and some for the bad. We see those changes in this tale also--Ximena, Belen and even Storm. What's nice is that Carson reveals those changes at the right time. The reader doesn't figure things out ahead of Queen Elisa. She's the queen, after all. Her subjects shouldn't be smarter.
Lots of truths come out in this installment: 1) Not everyone has your best interest at heart (Queen check your court and those closest to you.), 2) Don't underestimate who you may love (Queen he's under your nose), 3) You're stronger than you think (Queen seek out your strengths), 4) Friends can be found even amongst your enemies (Queen sometimes your greatest ally is cloaked).
Once again, I applaud Carson for writing such a diverse, enriching tale. This series should be considered a classic and on a Must Read list for high schoolers.