May 16, 2013
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
The Crown of Embers
by Rae Carson
Elisa is a hero. The young widowed queen led her people to victory vs an army of sorcerers. Even as fires still smolder in damaged parts of the capital city, her people welcome her parade with cheers and song until a sorcerer appears and ignites himself amid a crowd. Terrified citizens flee to the palace only to find themselves locked out.
The Queen and her guards have also been locked out. Fortunately, there is a secret way into the palace.
Where there is one secret there are bound to be many as Elisa discovers after an assassin attacks her where no one else should have been. Then she discovers a failed sorcerer living in a hidden village. And a dinner guest it poisoned at her own table.
Who can she trust? There is Ximena, the nurse who raised her; Mara the maid who was one of the rebels who helped her win the war; and Hector, the captain of her guard. There are also the people she shouldn’t trust yet finds herself relying on more and more — Storm, the failed sorcerer; Belen a young rebel who once betrayed her because he thought he did the will of God; and Tristan, the suitor who lied to her to gain her trust. Indecision and inaction take their toll as Elisa struggles to maintain authority, yet many still believe in her as she learns when Hector, Mara and Ximena commission a special crown, The Crown of Embers, suitable for her and no one else.
When Elisa takes off on a cross country journey, she surprised many with her abilities. Only the rebels she led against the sorcerers know of her skills and comfort in desert survival. If only she could being the same determination to her rule within the city.
I can’t say much more about the plot without giving away far too much. As before, with The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Carson has created a deliciously complicated story. There is romance in abundance as Elisa’s attraction to Hector grows even as she is forced to search out a husband.
The reading level may be easily within the later elementary school range but the story is young adult as Elisa considers what about herself a man might find appealing as well as her hopes for love and happiness, friendship and companions in general.
Can she be true to herself, to her duty as the bearer of a Godstone and those she would gladly give her life to save? You’ll have to read the book to see how it all works out.