Second books are hard. Not everyone can manage an "Empire Strikes Back". With CROWN OF EMBERS, Carson not only attempts to equal the awesomeness of her debut GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, she attempts to surpass it. And I have to say, she is wildly, wildly successful.
CROWN OF EMBERS takes Elisa further along her path as a new Queen and the Chosen of God. It's hard, and she can't do what her heart is calling her to do, but she walks it anyway. She uses her brain and thinks on her feet, and it is amazing to read. And I don't often say this, but the romantic developments BLEW. ME. AWAY.
The book is also beautifully written. Carson's world is stark and brilliant, and it was great to really get lost in the story as it unfolded.
If you are looking for a fantastically written book about a marvelous and strong character (cast of characters, really. Everyone in the book is pretty amazing, even the villains), this is certainly the book for you.