Review: A Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

A Crown of Embers by Rae CarsonA Crown of Embers
Rae Carson
Greenwillow Books
Published on September 8, 2012

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About A Crown of Embers
She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.

Elisa is a hero.

She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.

If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

My Review
I sometimes forget how refreshing and wonderful it can be to read about a really smart girl. I like that Elisa cares about people around her and that her faith is a deep part of her life. One of my favorite things in A Crown of Embers had to be watching the relationship between her and Storm develop. They started as unlikely allies, but seemed to really grow to respect each other, and I liked that a lot.

Court politics plays a large role in the plot of A Crown of Embers. Elisa struggles to balance what she wants with what her country needs and on top of that has to navigate around people who would use her for their own gain. It also becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that someone wants her dead, and it might be someone within her court.

I was a fan of Hector from Girl of Fire and Thorns, so I definitely wasn’t sorry to see him have a more significant role in A Crown of Embers. I also loved the little prince Rosario and Elisa’s attendants. Each of the characters has a really specific voice and some of them really kept a spark in the story with their dialogue or banter.

I enjoyed the first book in the series, and I loved A Crown of Embers, too. I’m looking forward to reading the third book—definitely eager to see what happens to Elisa and her kingdom.

A Crown of Embers on AmazonRecommended for Ages 12 up.

Cultural Elements
Elisa has paler skin and black hair, but her people have brown skin and dark hair. The enemy sorcerers are very fair-skinned with blond hair. Two men (both minor characters) are discovered to be lovers.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Elisa asks her handmaiden about love (sex) and she shares that she’s had lovers before. She and Elisa take an herb that is meant to prevent pregnancy, each hoping to have sex soon. Elisa considers whether she’d take a lover as many monarchs do. She’s tempted by her feelings for a man she believes she would never be allowed to marry.
Intense kissing between a man and woman. Elisa discovers two men embracing.

Spiritual Content
Elisa bears a gem in her navel which marks her as God’s chosen one. She prays often and recites scriptures which resemble Christian scriptures. Some rituals and ideas, like the quoted scriptures, resemble Christian faith and others are less connected (like the stone in her navel, which changes temperature when she’s in danger or God’s presence is with her.).

Carrying the stone means Elisa will have to perform some great act of service, so Elisa is always on the lookout to understand what she’s called to do.

Violent Content
Some situations of peril and assassination attempts. At one point, a man shouts threats at her and then lights himself on fire. Another assassin attacks an unarmed woman, leaving her for dead. A soldier is beheaded as a traitor. Elisa witnesses the executioner’s arm raise but can’t see more because of the crowd. A man begins vomiting after ingesting poison. Servants are flogged for negligence. A man holds a woman at knife-point.

Drug Content
Wine is served with dinners.

A Crown of Embers on Goodreads

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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