Hardcover, 410 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Greenwillow Books
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 had been initially super excited about this novel but then my enthusiasm had flagged. Then it somehow revived and I managed to get my hands on a library copy and started reading it apprehensively. Because I had loved the first novel so very much, I was afraid that the second one would, as sequels somehow inevitably do, let me down. Fortunately for me, this was not the case. The novel’s protagonist is very religious and she worships a Christian god. However, as I said in a status update, it never feels like the author or even the character is preaching about her religion of choice – it is more about spirituality than religiousity. So rather than alienating the non-Christian reader, the characters and the world somehow accepts the differences of the readers without wanting to change them or having them accept that religion. Do I make sense? I hope I do.
Other than that, I really liked Hector. I had pegged him for the actual love interest in the first novel and I was happy to have my suspicions proved correct. I hadn’t been happy when Humberto was killed off in the first novel and I remember being rather vocal about it. I still don’t think he should have been killed off but eh, if it means that there’s room for Hector, so be it. Their love happened gradually and it was interesting to witness it happening.
Rosario is a pretty awesome character for a kid and the courtly intrigues kept me reading. I just didn’t understand why Elisa didn’t assert herself more where the Quorum and Ximena were concerned. Why couldn’t she speak up and tell them what she wanted and why she wanted what she did? Why didn’t she make her thoughts, opinions and desires clear and make them submit to her? She is the queen and she has the right to rule and there is no reason she should not be secure about that. It is not enough, I think, to be told that she is a weak queen when she doesn’t attempt to be stronger. And the whole quest turned out to be a bit anticlimactic because of the realization she makes at the end.
The ending also felt staged rather than organic but I didn’t care by then because I was so invested in the story and the fates of the characters. So yeah, the novel isn’t perfect. But it entertains and it is does so in a grand manner. The world is strong, the characters likable and I really can’t wait to see what happens in the final book of this trilogy. Strongly recommended.