Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you!

When an animagus appears in the city during Queen Lucero-Elisa’s birthday parade, Joya d’Arena is thrown into turmoil. The animagus declares that Elisa, the only living bearer of the Godstone, belongs with them. Fear ripples through her citizens as rumors of another invasion by Inviernos begin. Locked out of the palace by one of her Quorum members in the ensuing panic, Elisa and her private guard, Hector, sneak back in through a hidden passageway. Once back inside, her right hand men all claim someone else made the decision to close the gates.

Elisa is seen by some of the Quorum as being too young and inexperienced and talk of a regent soon turns towards a political marriage. Knowing she is being set up and deciding to play along, Elisa goes to Alejandro’s tomb in the catacombs to pray in solitude. Unfortunately, she is attacked by an unknown assailant and left for dead. Barely alive when she is found, Elisa recovers quickly from the injury because her Godstone deflected the knife and speeded her recovery. Determined to uncover who in the palace is undermining her efforts, Elisa quickly realizes there are few people whom she can trust; Ximena, her nurse, Mara, her lady-in-waiting and Hector, her personal guard and friend whom she is slowly developing feelings for.

Trying to rebuild her country, Elisa is faced with the possibility that her prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. Ximena believes that the gates or paths of the enemy and of life are real places that she must go. As she continues to meet with an Invierno defector from the Wallows named Storm, he tells Elisa of the legend of the place where the Earth’s magic flows near the top and is easily tapped. Only those chosen by God can find the gate of life and pass through. Elisa knows that Storm speaks the truth because her Godstone flares to life, bringing her to her knees. Storm knows she will go searching for it and asks to go along.

Under the pretense of betrothal negotiations, Elisa, Hector and some of the others head off for the southern islands in search of zafina, the legendary gate of life. Soon after their departure into the desert, they discover that someone is following them. Who want Elisa dead and what are their political reasons? Will Elisa be able to fulfill her destiny and tap into her magic or is she setting herself up for failure? Can Elisa rise to be a great queen? What happens when Elisa realizes that one of her closet advisors doesn’t have her best intentions at heart?

With spine chilling action and a dramatic cliff-hanger in the final chapter, readers will be left clamoring for the dramatic conclusion to Elisa’s story in The Bitter Kingdom out in the fall of 2013.

Visit Rae Carson's website.

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