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.
I’ve been looking forward to this book since the first one, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, released last year. And I wasn’t disappointed, at all. I love these books.
In the first book, Elisa shows an incredible amount of growth, going from a clueless, sheltered girl to a leader of a rebellion. But she takes another step in Crown of Embers as she slides into the role of queen. There is so much she needs to learn, and she makes a mess of things in the beginning. But, eventually, she begins to figure things out and grow into herself as a person—which is starkly illustrated in the last few pages. It was beautiful to watch.
The romance was pretty easy to see coming, especially given their interaction in the previous book. But I loved the way it was done. There was a clear definition of what a wholesome and healthy relationship is, as well as how certain relationships can degrade and devolve a person into becoming less than what they are. I felt for their struggle, cheered for them, and was heartbroken at the harsh realities of their world.
The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, though it also feels satisfying at the same time: the conflict of this book is resolved well, and then we get a teaser of the conflict to come in the next book. And I *cannot* wait for it! Definitely recommended.