Monday, October 1, 2012
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.
In some ways I think I enjoyed this book, or at least parts of it, far more then the first book (and I adored the first book). Not because this book is BETTER then the first one, but because it was wonderful to see the obvious growth Elisa went through because of what happened in the first book. She makes mistakes, that's only natural, but they are new mistakes based on new circumstances she had to maintain and get a grip on.
What struck me this time around is that Elisa let's herself become so bogged down with the 'could have beens' that she misses the smaller details. Something she often chides herself on; 'look at the clues Elisa!' is said often enough that I wanted to throttle her. Stop thinking about looking at the clues and actually look at them! Whereas she spent a lot of time in THE GIRL worried about her place in everything, she spends a lot of time in this book worried about everyone else--her people, Hector, Rosario, Mara. Her own safety often gets set to the back burner.
Ximena, her nurse and Guardian, poses a problem in this book that I didn't quite notice in the first. She's a zealot, plain and simple. A well intentioned one, but just as much of one as the Inviernes are. This becomes abundantly clear at the very end, when she instigates something to protect Elisa, but is a very cruel thing to do. However as hard as it is for her, Elisa recognizes that even doing something from love, believing it to be right with your whole heart, doesn't excuse trampling over someone else's wishes. And for that I cheered for her.
Many familiar faces from the Rebel Camp return--Belen (grrr), Father Alentin, Matteo. Cosme is mentioned, as is Alodia--with a meeting set in place that may be the most amusing thing to ever happen (though not until Book 3). And Elisa does what she does best--she creates allies in unlikely places and enemies just by being more clever then she is given credit for.
For all the engaging parts, some of the book dragged. It felt like it took too long for them to hit upon a plan, and then too short a time for them to achieve it. Elisa's enemies all seemed to converge on her at once, making it a bit hard to figure out what plot was part of what scheme and who was behind it. And despite the fact I'm a sucker for this sort of thing, the romance dragged on and I'm not entirely sure why. Its all pretty obvious to everyone, but neither seems inclined to address it until the most inopportune moment in the most indelicate way.
At any rate, I'm eager to see how this all plays out in the end. I can't wait for the first Tribunal of Queens, or how Elisa finally fulfills her destiny or what it really means to bear a living Godstone. Not for anything but honestly it seems like Elisa has had the worst run as a bearer yet, so I hope it pays out for her in the end.
Book Review: The Crown of Embers
book reviews|Publisher - Greenwillow|Young Adult|