Reading Level: Young Adult
eBook: 416 pages
Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 18, 2013
Series: Fire and Thorns #2
Source: Borrowed from Friend
Reviewed by: Lili
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.
I have a confession. While, I was greatly looking forward to reading this book I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. My problems with book one stemmed from the fact that our main character, Elisa, relied heavily on God for her power despite the fact that she discovered the power to lead within herself. I didn’t like the religious reliance even though it wasn’t shoved down my throat. While book two pulls back on it, it’s still there. But it wholly disappears in the second half of the book to give way to a story that had me freaking out and proclaiming my love in the middle of a Starbucks.
There was a lot of political maneuvering in the beginning and that is, perhaps, what made it so slow for me. The second half of the book began with that epic adventure that we expected Carson to deliver after reading book one and that’s what made this book nearly unputdownable. It just took a while to get to that point. We picked up shortly after book two where Elisa’s own political allies are turning against her and her people are rioting. There have been several attempts on her life and just as many people want her dead as those who want her to live. Characters from the past blast back into her life and her most trustworthy friends seem to be doing nothing but hurting her. And worst of all, she is being forced to search for a proper suitor and husband to ally her war-riddled country with someone else. It’s all rather great, and it holds your attention, but it just can’t keep you glued to the page until over two hundred pages into the book. That’s what makes the beginning feel so long and the amazingness that is the epic adventure pass by all too quickly.
But what I really loved about this book were two story arcs in particular: Elisa’s journey to being a proper queen and Hector. Elisa acknowledges that she’s been a weak ruler and she truly wants to be better. Hints of a powerful woman shine through at certain parts of the book and you can’t help but think, “I’d want this girl to be my queen if I was forced to subject to one.” It’s a huge emotional and psychological step up from book two.
And Hector. Oh, how I love you so. You and your newly lacking mustache are absolutely amazing and I love you. A lot. With all of my heart. Seriously. These two had a romance that began in book one with cute side-long glances and such. Now, their interactions are all the more frustrating because they remain cute. Yet these two are entirely devoted to each other and supremely passionate. I love every minute of this romance--the way one should progress.
This high fantasy is epic. It really is. It left me reeling and highly anticipating book three, though I don’t want to say goodbye to this series or this amazing world or even these amazingly well written characters just yet. Full of many surprises I couldn’t even hint at because of major spoilers, this book is one that you should definitely read. This series is worth continuing because the surprises are limitless and this book promises you the most epic epic of all time to take place in book three. Simply put, Rae Carson is a genius.