Today I’m reviewing The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, which is the second book in The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. If you’ve seen my previous post, you know this trilogy is my favorite of all time, with the first book being the best.
I read The Crown of Embers in middle school, high school, and in February of this year. I don’t usually like middle books that much because they don’t have all the exciting things that happen in the beginning and end of a story, so I don’t have a lot to say about this one. I’m going to share what I like, what I don’t like, and my overall thoughts. This review will contain spoilers.
My two favorite things about this trilogy are the settings and characters. In this book, the setting is mostly a ship and a tropical island. I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy story that involves ocean voyages and tropical islands, so this is a new, refreshing setting. It also contrasts with the desert and rainforest settings of the first book. I really like having this different setting in the second book.
If you’ve seen my previous post, you know my favorite characters are Humberto, Hector, and Alejandro. You would also know that Hector is the only one who’s in the second book. I love Hector, and I also really like his relationship with Elisa. I like that they have a healthy relationship with each other. So many books have toxic relationships in them, so it’s really nice to see a healthy relationship between these two characters.
I also like Tristan. He plays a pretty important role in the story where Elisa is confiding in him and counting on him to help her attain her goals. Usually, when there’s a gay character in a book, they play a very minor role and end up dead at some point. That’s not the case with Tristan. I know the LGBTQ+ representation is minimal and could use improvement, but I like that Tristan is in this story and that he plays an important role.
We also see the introduction of a new character, Storm. The first two times I read this book, I didn’t like Storm, but he’s kind of grown on me. I’m not really sure why I like him now, but I do. I like him better in the third book, but he plays a pretty big role in this book too.
There isn’t much I don’t like about this book other than it being a middle book. However, there are two things I wanted clarification on. Elisa talks about wearing her crown a lot and how it’s heavy and pulls at her hair, and it makes me wonder if Alejandro wore his crown as much as Elisa wears hers. The first book never really mentions Alejandro wearing a crown. Does Elisa wear hers more because there are different expectations for female monarchs or because she’s a new monarch and is trying to remind people of her power? The other thing is that Belen acts as their scout, so he’s out all night scouting and travelling with them all day. When does he sleep? Does he sleep in his saddle when they’re travelling during the day? Those are just two things that aren’t clear about the story.
Overall, I don’t really have much to say about this book. I like the settings and characters. The plot’s very much a middle plot in that it’s just the connection between the plot of the first book and the plot of the last book. I enjoy reading this book, especially because I love seeing Hector and Elisa grow closer to one another.
What are your thoughts on this book? If you’ve read the first book but not the second, would you want to continue with the series? Let me know in the comments down below. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.