Audiobook Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The Crown of Embers audioTitle: The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)

Author: Rae Carson

Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: September 18th, 2012

Interest: Series

Source: Audiobook purchased via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads): In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

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.

Audiobook Review:  I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns traditionally and absolutely loved it.  Besides enjoying the narrator, the main reason I decided to listen to The Crown of Embers is because I don’t always like reading books in the middle of a series during the school year; most times I’d rather read a stand alone or the beginning of a series.  I often save series continuations or endings for the summer when I feel like I have more freedom to read what I want, when I want.  Anyway, I very much enjoyed Jennifer Ikeda as a narrator for this story.  I honestly don’t know if I’ll read the third book traditionally or as an audio now that I’ve experienced both.  What I liked most about listening to The Crown of Embers is being able to hear the correct pronunciations of names and places.  I never knew how to pronounce Ximena while I was reading the first book, and of course, I was pronouncing it wrong.  Jennifer Ikeda does a nice job bringing a different voice to each character and really bringing Elisa’s character to life.

Book Review:  I love this series.  Rae Carson is such a talented fantasy author.  I can’t wait to read book three, but I’m even more excited to see what other worlds and stories she’ll write in the future.  I love her use of imagery and pacing.  Picturing the setting comes easily as does imagining the characters.

I can’t write this review without bringing up the relationship between Elisa and Hector.  It’s such a strong friendship in the beginning and now it’s blossoming into something more.  Even when Elisa was in love with Humberto, I was hoping she would recognize Hector as more than a guard.  Their relationship might be a new favorite YA romance for me.  Hector is so honorable and strong and Elisa is finally beginning to gain some self-confidence and strength.  They’re a great match.

The Crown of Embers is a bit slower than The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but I think that’s because so much more of the story is building.  Elisa is maturing and really finding herself as a carrier of the Godstone and also as a queen.  We’re also learning more about the Godstone and we’re learning more about the realm.  I’m excited to see where all of this build-up is going to take us in book three, especially with an ending like we have in this book!  The ending is bittersweet, but it also left me feeling proud of Elisa.

Overall, I can’t recommend this series enough.  I included The Girl of Fire and Thorns as a fantasy option in my YA II class and the majority of my students who chose it loved it.  Many of them went on to read The Crown of Embers because they loved Elisa and her story so much.

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