Thursday, December 20, 2012
The Crown of Embers
....Everyone sigh. Let's just get it over with.
YES, I read the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns. My review for that is here.
YES, I do regret that decision. SO MUCH.
So let me tell you about it a little bit.
I picked up The Crown of Embers because it was right there on the shelf, and I had a moment of extreme weakness. My general thoughts were, "Well, the first one is still fresh in my mind, and I guess the character developed at the end, so maybe if the character remains kind of strong, I'll be okay...maybe....*extreme inhale of breath and grabs book* OH GOD WHY DOES IT FEEL LIKE I'LL HATE THIS."
...I should just go with my gut. Seriously.
So I powered through this book, and I won't provide an Amazon summary because it doesn't deserve it.
So The Crown of Embers picks up vaguely where The Girl of Fire and Thorns leaves off. Elisa is struggling to balance her political power versus the Qurom (The Qurom is a group of five that is the central leaders of the country), a couple Qurom members seem to be after her, and her country is falling into despair because of the excessive neglect it seems to be under.
Elisa is dumb. She's completely lost all her confidence and strength and focuses more on appeasing people and trying to corner them into doing things. Sometimes she out maneuvers them, sometimes she is out maneuvered.
Also, Elisa spends the entire book being like, "...I think I like Hector? Do I like Hector? I don't know, I'll just keep staring at him and admiring him a lot. ...DO I LIKE HECTOR?" It's stupid dumb.
Elisa also embarks on a more spiritual quest because she's got the god stone in her navel still. It's drivel that doesn't make a whole lot of sense and is ignored until the last portion of the book.
This really was not a satisfying read by any means.
The book seems to go like this, "Oooo look at Elisa and her uncertainties with being a Queen and ruling her people, oooo look at all the crap that her people are going through but who cares, oooo Elisa MIGHT like Hector, oooo assassination attempt on Elisa's life that she recovers from really quickly and is not traumatized at all from (THIS WAS JUST A TOOL TO GET THE PLOT MOVING WITH HECTOR LOLOLOL), oooo spiritual quest? and ooo I might have to negotiate with Cosme, but we'll just deal with Belen instead because that's safe." LIKE WHAT. WHAT IS THIS. BOOK, YOU DRUNK. GO HOME.
So let me break it down for real.
Book starts with Elisa going on a parade for her birthday (it's tradition, it's also OVERLY noted that she's ONLY seventeen. ...whatever book, just whatever). During the parade, an animgus (however you spell it, feeling lazy) sorcerer makes a scary threat and blows himself up by exploding in the middle of a crowded area. The citizens FREAK OUT because those were the sorcerers that demolished the city last time. OMFG WTF all over the place. Elisa tries to get back into the palace only to discover that her Qurom lords have locked it down and shut all the people out as well. She's outraged, gets in through a super secret passage and let's her people in to safety. Then she's all huffy to the Qurom lords but listens to their council and things just start to go downhill. They're pressuring her to marry politically for the country and she's all BUT I MIGHT LOVE HECTOR, I DON'T KNOW YET, and has a bunch of weird moments of AM I PRETTY? Then she retreats to the catacombs to speak with her dead husband because it comforts her to be that 'alone' and someone tries to kill her. Chaos ensues and she recovers speedily for the injury that she was dealt; the physician believes it's because of the god stone.
Then a bunch of just drivel happens where she's trying to be tactful, full of strategy, yet despite how logical and precise her actions are, she's an emotional and unsure mess. She's lost all the strength that she had in the dessert. She's almost too stupid to live. AGAIN.
Then at the end of the book she has an epiphany of sorts and makes this moment where 'EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER' just so the book can end and we're still left with the same crisis as it was in the beginning of the book. She's still a weak queen, her country is still in turmoil, but SPOILER LAND LOLOL she has pronounced that she's engaged to Hector as he's carted away by the animagi sorcerers who are going to hold him for ransom over the queen.
Elisa also has a lot of weird 'GIGGLE, I'M A GIRL' moments. Her hand maids tease her that she's lost in the arts of the heart (which she is) but she basically has pulled all sorts of wool over her eyes. ALL THE TIME. She begins to wonder what it would be like to bed someone and crap like that. Unnecessary things.
However, she did manage to make a good alliance with another lord who she pretended to be betrothed to. She was considering actually marrying him until she came across him in the gardens with one of his servants. It turns out the lord is gay, very few people know, and it was nice that Elisa was like, "Well, now he won't marry me damn it" instead of flipping out because he's gay.
That was cool.
...I guess I just detested this book. But now it's become the nasty car crash in my reading world. I'll read the THIRD BOOK (WHY ARE THERE THREE) just to end the horror and to know how it ends.
If you haven't read any of them yet, just don't. There are much better books out there to read.