Monday, 28 October 2013

The Crown of Embers/The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Library and purchased
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 AND BOOK 2 IN SUMMARIES. REVIEW IS ALSO A LITTLE SPOILERIFIC FOR BOOK 1.

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)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.
The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny. Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

I've decided to do a joint review for these books because, 1) I don't want to bore you all with 2 reviews of the same series in a row and 2) my thoughts for both are very similar anyway.

Okay folks, here's the deal: if you haven't started this series yet, go away and order them from your library/bookstore and GET IT DONE. I don't know what the heck I was thinking waiting so long to pick the first book off my shelf but this series made it to my ultimate favourite shelf SO fast.

Elisa. This girl, guys. Elisa is such a force to be reckoned with. She's determined, strategic and smart and her development is breathtaking. I love that Rae Carson strips her of her crutches (friends, family, etc.) in these two books until only she's left and that while she stumbles along the way, she makes it to the end. Elisa discovers who SHE is and learns to love that person and I could not be more proud of her as a reader.

The supporting cast in this series (Hector) is amazing. I'm so invested in these characters (Hector) and I would just like to inquire as to where I may find my own (Hector)? These characters are there to support Elisa, as a friend and queen, but also exist independently of her. Certain characters in particular aren't afraid to call Elisa out on her bad choices and it makes me love them even more.

My favourite part of this series (trumping even romance!) is without a doubt the political aspect (says the International Studies major...). Ruling a kingdom, especially during a time of such political turmoil, is by no means an easy job and I loved watching Elisa learn to navigate the waters. There's such an emphasis on her struggle between being a good ruler and sticking to her beliefs, of keeping distance from the situation but also being invested in her people. She's dealing with more experienced people, more powerful enemies and she still never backs down. These books get an A+ for not holding back with the harsher realities of ruling a kingdom.

And finally, the part you all care about: romance! I won't say much so as not to be overly spoilery, but <3. Let's just say I did a lot of squealing and swooning and grinning into my pillow at 3 AM with these. Rae Carson has written one of the strongest, sweetest couples I can remember reading about and I think re-reads are in order for that alone.

Cover Comments: Yeah, I don't really love the covers for these books... they're alright.

5 Golden Crowns
(hahaha crowns... get it?)

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