Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

From the Author’s Website:

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Welcome to tonight’s special 2 hour long episode of The Young and The Poisonous: a dramatic reading.

*Dramatic music*


shuffles papers *shuffling noises*

Clears voice. Continues yelling in the way reporters often do:


1. The Theatrics! The fucking Queen, who may as well have a third eye and a mustache, is always jumping out of her chair, waving hands about, pointing fingers, and saying “Lies!”

The heroine also commits to being a theatre major:

“I’ve never had a choice about anything,” I spit at her.

As is one of the love interests, and I say love interest very lightly here:

“No, it’s not true. Twylla, it isn’t true, is it? You wouldn’t do that, not after all we said? All I told you?”

And the other love interest:

“He can’t have you,” he murmurs against my pipes. “You’re mine, my Twylla, my love.”

2. Tywlla (yes that’s really her name) forgives the assface who threatens her, more than once. 

The correct response:

3. MC claims no one ever gave her choice, making her a fucking idiot since all she does is wait for shit to happen to her. It’s the formula for a doormat.

  • Make sure the heroine is forced into a position she doesn’t want to be.
  • Make sure the heroine is the quiet demure type.
  • Don’t have the heroine speak up for herself, that will only curb the process of the doormat.
  • Make sure there are two boy toys she can eye coddle and choose from, so the reader thinks she has choices.
  • Don’t make the heroine try to find a way out. Let that stuff just fall into chaos and then at the last possible opportune moment have her speak for herself. It’ll trick the reader into thinking she stood up for herself.

“All we can do is stay quiet and do our best. We must be ghosts. That’s how you stay alive in this castle. You become a ghost. You keep your head down and you stay out of her way as much as you can.”

Bullcrap. My opinion is that a smart and badass heroine is someone who is able to intelligently get out of a situation she doesn’t want to be in, which does include making risky choices, and still remain with her head intact. Let’s all remember J.K. Rowling’s Harvard speech. You have to make risks. Although, you should still be smart about those risks. This heroine does neither.

4. The heroine guilt trips every fucking person in the novel. We must fear the queen! I’m (and I speak of all of us) all for being smart and making sure you don’t get your cut off, but I would much rather have a heroine who lives than a heroine who just sits there all day doing nothing.

5. The characters are inconsistent:

Merek’s character is the most inconsistent character I’ve come across in quite a long while. At first he’s broody, hikes up his lips in a smirk, and mouths off to people. Then, he tries to get to know Twylla. But, then when a predictable plot twist comes flying in he becomes the dramatic spoiled prince who cares for our poisoned doormat. You would think that a guy that professes to be so intelligent on so many matters would be able to see what’s right in front of him. Then, he’s the betrayed love interest who shoots evil eyes at everybody. Last but not least, he’s the nice guy.

The other love interest, Lief starts out a nice guy. He’s the friend. He’s the helper. He’s a dud. Suffice it to say, his character made no sense especially by the end of the book. By the time he tried to give reasons for his actions, I could care no more.

6. The insta-love that turned out to be just as insta no matter what we find out. That and “strawberry-flavored lust” descriptions.

The insta-love shot out of nowhere. There was no development. They were friends and then fucking kissing each other like dogs in mud to saying the L word. What even.

“But I can still kiss you?” he says. “When we’re alone?”
“Are you so hungry for my kisses?”

I’m not even going to go into the “forbidden lovers who attempt to run away together because no one understands their love” aspect. Please. No. NO.

7. She’s an idiot. She never thinks about what’s in the bottle she’s been taking, not until someone else mentions it to her. Even when they do, they have to hammer it into her until she stops being a cloistered nun about it. But, really that’s insulting to nuns. Have you guys ever met nuns? They are bad ass and a little mean sometimes.

8. She see’s a girl who’s pretty and what does she do?

“She’s very pretty. I don’t like her.

Then, she tries to look all intelligent, powerful, and better than any pretty girl because she’s different. She’s so different you guys. She can kill someone with a touch! Too bad, since that’s the only interesting thing about this book. In reality, she’s a fucking dim witted stuck-up doormat.

9. She’s the sympathetic heroine. I don’t even understand how a heroine who is an executioner can be so much of a pansy. Honestly, if someone can explain this to me I am all ears. Psychologically, a human who kills can suffer from a lot of trauma (the nazis at auschwitz, anyone?).

10. There is little to no plot for 60 percent of the novel. Even when the plot becomes apparent, it’s barely there. It’s chaotic. A little bit here, a little over there, oh and right there too.

11. The writing and characters are completely un-relatable and make you feel no emotion. This is my biggest fucking problem. I hate it when I’m bored. I don’t want the audience to be bored either. The writing is really awkward, forced, and lacks emotion. It doesn’t flow that well at all. By the time I got to sixty percent it was hard even to get one percentage. It’s so difficult to read, when it shouldn’t be.


Thank you to Edelweiss and Scholastic Inc for providing me with an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content in my review.


Waiting On Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Waiting on Wednesday: hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the start of a sensational romantic fantasy trilogy by the bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series.

I’m really interested in reading this book for several reasons.

1. It has faeries and anyone who knows me knows that I love books with faeries; particularly evil ones. I’m picky.

2. The blurb has that feel to it. You know the one that says “there will be folklore and possible symptoms of exploding heads.”

3. Masks. I am a sucker for masks. All twitter is nowadays is people in masks. This is what the book blogging community has come to and I’m liking it.

4. The blurb reminds me of an old Celtic ballad called Tam Lin.

5. The Main Character is a hunter. Killing of animals is involved.

I’m so much more interested in this novel, than Throne of Glass. Assassins are all good and fine, but it gets old. It’s an old trope in fantasy and doesn’t interest me as much. I’ve been there, done that. I think this series will be different. I believe Maas will show her skills here. I think she’ll prove her worth in this book. She’s grown as an author and I want to see what she can do now.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine highlighting upcoming releases we’re looking forward to.

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

I get very giddy about high fantasy Young Adult novels. It’s like being able to snap your fingers and have a triple espresso. There are infinite possibilities here and I can’t sit here make them all up.  It’s just a magical feeling.

That name is so historical and victorian, it’s hilarious. I love hysterical names in Young Adult. This will be a great read for sure.

That is a very interesting concept: a world where magic isn’t permitted. How Meadows will tackle this is beyond me. I just imagine her wrestling with an elephant of a story. Oh yeah. It’s on big badass animals. Meadows’s claws will come out, dear creatures of today. A world like that? That takes some serious wording.

My only worry is that the “Princess” will turn into a Special Snowflake. I don’t like a main character that tries to get the reader to sympathize with her by slut shaming, being the poor rich girl, or even GASP have the love interest save her. I’m a demon when writing reviews and it will show, if this happens. Please don’t let this happen. I beg of you.


Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen). Visit her at

4 Star Review: The Falconer

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale.

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title — and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. She’s leading a double life: She has the rare ability to sense the sìthichean — the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans — and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her abilities and her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons — from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols — ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with the gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder — but she’ll have to save the world first.

There’s blood coming from my eyes. It drips down my cheeks and flows down my neck. It’s coming in large spurts and gulps. I touch my neck and discover it’s not coming from only my eyes, but my neck. Blood sprays out like a fucking squirt gun. I’m so shocked by the ending that I’m numb. I’m so torn apart that I don’t feel the pain.

 I can see why the author’s hair is the color of blood. She must die her hair with the blood of her readers with a cliffhanger like that. Scary lass.

I’m sorry you guys had to read my awful attempt at writing (Edit: I am editing this and I’m annoyed). I’m one of the few bloggers that doesn’t want to be a writer. I’m like a stray wolf. Almost every blogger I’ve come in contact with is trying to get published. It’s a lonely realization.

I’m not sure about this, but I’m pretty sure my brain cells burst like an atomic bomb after reading this book (edit: Um..??????). This book was just pure unadulterated fun. I was skipping the entire time. My enjoyment level was catatonic.

Usually when we read a review and they say “the MC is so badass” we roll our eyes right? Once we actually read that book, we sit there completely disappointed because the MC ended up only killing a few creatures of terror. Not Aileana. She kills mercilessly. I can’t even list how many faeries we get to see her kill. The author is very poetic about blood and guts and explosions and BLOOD ON HER KNIFE!

I swing the hammer back and slam it into the redcap’s temple. Blood bursts at me, splatters warm across my face. And a single thought echoes in my mind: More. 

My god. It’s beautiful the way she describes the kills. She is a bloodthirsty badass bitch in truer ways than any other Young Adult heroine. This is no Throne of Glass, where the MC brags about how many people she’s killed. There is no past tense or off the scene killing. It’s present and it’s delicious.

Her name is Aileana. She’s vengeful, distrusting, and has a taste for blood. She’s a talented inventor. She even makes weapons on the side, when she’s nervous or upset. She’s one of those shameless heroines that doesn’t care about gossip, popularity, or propriety. Some people have grumbled about Aileana’s carelessness for not caring for reputation as a society miss, but I love that it doesn’t matter to her. She doesn’t intend to get married or have children. She doesn’t like her title, but she doesn’t whine about either.

I’m a ruined girl who made her choice. This is who I am: a night creature who thrives on death and destruction.

Her duty is killing Faeries. She’s a Falconer, which is like the faerie equivalent of a Slayer. That’s where her responsibilities lay. I appreciate a heroine that doesn’t want to be part of society. Since this is historical fantasy and not a historical, I felt it fit. I  could get behind her ballsy nature to prefer mutilation to dancing with suitors. She’s always running off to kill faeries in the middle of a party, returning with rips in her dress and her hair in disarray (edit: hell if I had to wear big fat silk dresses, I would start killing people too).

Aileana’s development in this book is something that I rarely find in Young Adult fiction. First, she’s badass and refuses to believe she’s anything except strong. I love this type of confidence:

I lean in, indecently close. “You underestimate me,” I whisper. “And that is a mistake.”

Confident heroines should be more apparent in Young Adult fiction. Her character develops slowly and surely, where she’s faced with the fact that she’s not as strong and competent as she made herself out to be. She learns to trust her friends with her secrets. There is no girl hate in this book. She has a best friend, and spoiler: her friend doesn’t stab her in the back.There is something really wrong with Young Adult in that I have to mention that little bit.

Look guys. I know that I like books where romance is secondary and the plot is the basis. This is also true with this book. The romance is definitely not the focus. But, um….sexy times guys. Man oh man do I love the romantic times in this book. There were times where I was turned on by the fight scenes and the blood. Either I’m a fucking psycho (edit: I am seriously considering my sanity right now) or the author was turned on by the sexy fight scenes (edit: Elizabeth May if you are reading this, please forgive me. I’m pretty sure I was…not sober) herself. I’m just…I..*fans self*

(edit: YEP. There may have been alcohol involved when writing this paragraph).

Kiaran stands in the hallway, soaked through from the downpour, hand braced…

*smirks* I’ll just leave it there to tease you guys. (edit: WHAT WAS I DRINKING? My that Britney Spears? You hate BS.)

The problems I had with this book is that the world building was messy. It was full of depth and intricately interesting. Yet, I had a hard time grasping onto it which usually tells me that the world has chinks in its armor. There were certain things, such as the mechanical spiders, that could have used more explaining. The world could have been more grounded, especially when it came to the city of Edinburgh. The pronunciation in this book is just difficult. That’s not a criticism. It’s just difficult is all. The mechanics of the world are left alone. Oh and by the by: the author has told me that this isn’t steampunk. That’s what her publisher called it, but she looks at it as historical fantasy.

Aileana would occasionally do something in the realm of stupidity (edit: Hey. Past me. Listen up idiot. You jump off…oh spoiler. OOPS.) and I didn’t really get down (Edit: HA! get down…OH GOD.) with that. For example, she killed faeries without her ancient mentor knowing and this has serious repercussions. Sometimes she’ll rush (edit: is that a sexual euphemism? I really shouldn’t drink and review) into things and not go over them in her head. Although, there really was no way for her to plan those things since there was nothing she could plan. But, I still had a problem with it. She’s a bit like Buffy when it comes to doing things right then and there. But I understand why this happened, she’s only had a year of training from Kiaran.

Aileana felt too perfect at times. I really think her talents in creating new weapons is badass, but I don’t think she fucked up enough. Maybe I’m being cynical here, but I feel like a heroine needs to be right in the middle between being confident enough and a fuck up. At least, at the start of the book. I have some quibbles (edit: What are you British? *head desk*) about her inventor shenanigans. Most of her inventions I could buy into, but a few I didn’t. Like the secret passage in her room. That sort of thing involves architecture and things completely beyond her realm of knowledge and ability. Secondly, the floating hand (edit: I WOULD KILL FOR THIS) that delivers books to you. Lastly, the flying machine. That’s a little too much bullcrap for me.

This book is a new favorite of mine and little (Edit: liar liar pants on fire) of it has to do with the fact that it is a good substitute for the hellish fart cake (edit: BURN YOUR SOUL YOU WORDLESS MANIAC): Burned by Karen Marie Moning. This book has similarities to the Fever series, but not so much that it became tedious. Instead of being annoyed by that, I was rooting for how similar it was. This is the best fan fiction of the Fever series you will ever read. Kiaran is like Barrons minus the misogynism and dominance over the Main Character. Aileana has similarities to Mac, but is vastly different. She’s not a spoiled brat, she’s badass in a competent and intelligent manor, and she rarely mentions what she looks like.

This book was my crack and Lizzie Bennet says it better than I ever could:

5 Star Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.

“The Flame” is obvious if you’ve ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it’s unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.

“The Thunder” I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.

I’ve never thought of “The Broken Tree” as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.

My first mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.

But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.”

I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend.

Hold on a sec….I gotta breath for a sec. Too many damn emotions.

Dear Patrick Rothfuss, thank you for writing a fantasy novel that I’m able to read over and over, without being bored in the slightest.

Dear Patrick Rothfuss, thank you for writing a fantasy novel with women that I can admire.

Dear Patrick Rothfuss, thank you for writing a fantasy novel that doesn’t feel like a repeat of every other fucking fantasy novel out there.

Dear Patrick Rothfuss, curse you. You have ruined all other epic fantasy novels for me.

Now, for all of you fellow readers out there:

If you haven’t read this book, let me make things clear for you: Walk over to your book shelf. Pick up the largest fucking book you have. Make sure it’s a hardcover. Now, hit yourself on the head with it. There you go. All fixed. Now you realize your past mistakes, right? Nod your head. GOOD.

See, there’s this magical world. Only it’s not what you would imagine at first. It’s dark, mysterious, disgusting, weird, and completely interesting in every way possible.

There’s also this guy. His name is Kvothe. He’s an innkeeper. You know that cool guy that serves you beer and tells you stories? Yeah. He’s that guy. He’s quiet, but badass. He’s quick with the words and interesting in every way possible.

He’s not what he seems. He’s just a cool dude who’s a little down in the dumps. You know, past grievances and all that. He tells us his story. How the kid who once had the most loving family ended up an orphan on the streets. How the orphan with no money got into a University. How the foolish boy became a man.

Many readers may argue that Kvothe is too perfect. But really? I’d disagree. The dude messes up again and again and again and again. I like that fact. Because Rothfuss makes it very clear that this is the story of a genius boy. It’s made very clear the type of story Rothfuss wants to tell us, or rather the type of story Kvothe wants to tell us.

He’s the type of guy I love to read about: witty, smart, constantly distracted by hilarious things, bookish, snarky, and interesting. He’s fascinating to me. The way his mind works makes me want to read more just to know how that brain of his ticks. He’s very detail oriented. He focuses on things no one else would ever think of focusing on. Tiny little things that make all the pieces come together. He’d figure it out in a couple minutes whereas someone else would be staring at that damn puzzle for days.

He even came up with a song after his own personal epic bully:

“He’s a well-bred ass, you can see it in his stride!
And for a copper penny he will let you take a ride!”

I rarely laugh out loud while reading. It happens….NEVER. It says a lot that I was falling over my chair laughing when I read this scene. Snorting. Chuckling. Eyes watering. YEP.

There’s just something completely fucking hilarious when Kvothe says or does something funny. Most epic fantasy heroes I read are….very serious. Boring. And generally speaking, uninteresting.

Now, since this is the story of how a boy becomes a man, it should involve areas of the heart. HELL YES. But the great thing about the romance-parts in this book is that they don’t dominate the book at all. Yes. Thank you. No insta-love. No insta-lust. No beer goggles. Kvothe and Denna are fucking wonderful. They’re so stubborn and clueless with love. It was even more fun to watch their friendship build, the second time around.

Some readers hate Denna. I don’t. I love her. I think she’s a great example of a woman in epic fantasy who isn’t one dimensional or a stereotype. She feels real. She doesn’t shy away from being a girl. But at the same time, she’s completely baller. She deals with life as she see’s fit. She knows the reality of her situation and does what she has to. She knows that sometimes in order to survive, sometimes you can’t be the kind damsel in distress. And she’s no damsel. She’s no blushing virgin either.

“Why would I wear a knife?” Denna asked. “I am a delicate blossom and all that. A woman who goes around wearing a knife is obviously looking for trouble.” She reached deep into her pocket and brought out a long, slender piece of metal, glittering all along one edge. “However a woman who carries a knife is ready for trouble. Generally speaking, it’s easier to appear harmless. It’s less trouble all around.”

I’ve been talking so much about the characters because that’s what I love most. But the world…geez. Makes a lot of fantasy books look obsolete in comparison. The thing about this world is that the magic is kind of imagined in a way a chemist or an engineer would think magic would work. The magic and all the details are explained. The author makes it very clear to the reader without boring you or giving you too much information. There are different parts of the magic. There are words for magic, of course. But there’s more to it than that. It’s not just the word that makes it work. There’s a certain science to it, almost. You know what? Screw it. Patrick explains it so much more than I ever could. No doubt. I am not a writer and I don’t want to be. That shit is hard to do.

I know that some people argue that this book has no straight plot. But that’s not really a valid argument because the author makes it very very clear that this is the story of a hero. He’s telling it to us. We switch from third point of view, to what Kvothe is telling us. But more than that, in real life we don’t have things happen to us in a straight cut line. It’s not an organized thing. It’s not that the book is scattered. It’s not. It’s just that he’s telling us what happens to him in the oder that they happened. In order to understand the real gut of the story, we have to understand how he got there. We have to see the painful backstory. But, it’s not boring. Not in the slightest. The ride there is a roller coaster. It’s fast paced, complicated, sad, and endearing. I loved every word.

Oh! There’s even this creature that blows out blue fire…for mating purposes. HEHEHE.

The first time I read this book, I…I…..I had no words for the power this book had over me. But this time, I felt so much more. I learned so much more. I could pay attention so much more. I felt like this:

“…I will slit you open and splash around like a child in a muddy puddle. I’ll string a fiddle with your guts and make you play it while I dance.”

The first time: I was an incurable fangirl…still am.
The second time: I’ve been gutted.

Now since I’ve read this book only once and I’ve read the second zero times, I will go on to that one. Truthfully, I’m a little scared. I’ve heard very sad things about that one. Let the tragic times commence.

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson Review

4 1/2 Star Review:


A YA book without insta-love! There must be a blue moon or something, right?



Rae Carson may be one of the few authors of Young Adult fiction I love most. Here’s why: she doesn’t slut shame, she doesn’t write insta-love, she writes realistic character development, and she has the heroine save herself instead of the male lead swooping in.


But, she also does something I feel was quite brave: she created a story line that has a big influence on religion. Yet, she doesn’t preach or force the reader the religious aspects of her novel. She never makes you feel uncomfortable with the religious parts of the book. I love this because I’m not at all a religious person. To be perfectly blunt, I’m an atheist. Just because I don’t have the same beliefs as Elisa, doesn’t mean I’m going to judge others for their personal beliefs. I can proudly say that the book doesn’t prescribe to one of the belief systems that Carson presents in her novel.

Elisa may be religious, but it’s presented in a way that doesn’t force itself on the reader. It’s completely plot based and personal to the protagonist. Never once did I think or suspect Carson was trying to force her opinions on me. I’ve read books like that. For example a certain science fiction writer, who will remain nameless because he’s an asshole. I won’t fucking give him the pleasure of mentioning him in this review.

The relationship development in this book was phenomenal. I loved how Elisa’s relationship with her nurse Ximena changes. Elisa becomes so much more independent in this book, even though she feels like everything is falling apart. The way Hector and Elisa’s friendship changes becomes one of the best part of this book.


Elisa has earned her right as Queen of Joya d’Arena. She’s fought for and lost those she’s loved. Unfortunately, her hardships as Queen don’t end there. She must now rule her kingdom with confidence. She must become the ruler her husband wasn’t. This provides difficult for Elisa because there are many who don’t believe she has the strength to be a strong ruler. The Quorum lords don’t trust her. The people are now struggling for their livelihood and rioting. Everyone has demands. If it’s not the Quorum lords, than it’s the people of Joya d’Arena. She wants to do what’s right for her country. But Elisa can’t quite figure out how to please everyone.

Stakes become even higher when her life is threatened. Elisa becomes frightened for her life. She needs to find out who almost killed her and why. Elisa believes some within her trust circle have been plotting against her. In addition Elisa is losing control of her crown. Some may not think she has the right to be Queen. Elisa believes that if she finds the knowledge and power of her Godstone, than her ruling will not be questioned or even threatened. She journeys towards something that will help her gain the power of her Godstone.

Along the way Elisa gains many things. She realizes more about love, friendship, confidence, and independence than she knew before. This book becomes more about Elisa’s confidence and independence than anything else. She learns that intelligence and confidence becomes the power to rule her nation. She doesn’t need to please everyone. She learns to be a strong ruler, something which her husband didn’t gain in his lifetime.


Rae Carson’s plot actually stays consistent. This doesn’t mean that her plots aren’t complex. The focus in this book stays on: Elisa gaining the courage and strength to rule her people. Whether that means going in search of something that she believes will get her there or dealing with assassination attempts that would prevent her from her purpose. Carson doesn’t stray from the main plot. But even so, Carson does have some sub-plots; but, they don’t take the focus off Elisa’s determination to become a strong Queen for the people of Joya d’Arena. Elisa’s relationships become part of gaining confidence in her abilities. Each major part in the Crown of Embers has purpose and leads to something that will lead to the climax of the novel.


The descriptions in Crown of Embers may not be gorgeous prose per say, but Carson has a talent for setting the mood for the reader. She’s able to use description to create tension in action scenes or slow the pacing down to create an intimate moment. The moments when Elisa and her friends reach their destination make for some of the most beautiful descriptions:

There are no palm trees here, just sprawling cypress and towering eucalyptus and a tree I’ve never seen before, with such huge broad leaves that a single leaf would cover my whole body. Birds flit among branches; dappled light catches on them and shoots away in prismatic facets. It’s so startlingly odd that I peer closer.
No, not birds. They’re giant insects, as large as ospreys, with downy white abdomens and gossamer wings.

Carson shows her characters feelings with exuberance:

Up ahead, the curtains of the queen’s carriage part, and Ximena peeks out. I smile and wink. She starts to smile back, but then she sees Hector beside me and her smile fades. The curtain swishes back into place.

She’s an author that shows the reader the characters emotions. But, she doesn’t leave out the internal thoughts on the characters part either. I never felt left out or confused when reading this book. It’s the mark of great writer when you never find yourself confused. Shockingly, this has happened to me too many time in the past to count. Consistency people! it’s a powerful thing.



Elisa becomes a woman in this book. She matures and grows in her realizations about her strength and her relationships. By the end you’ll be routing for her intense confidence in herself. I love confident heroines, but I prefer to read about how they gain their confidence. We get to see this journey in Elisa. The scene where Elisa tells off her nurse is fucking BRILLIANT! I’m so glad she didn’t just brush off her nurse as if it was nothing, who’s constantly deciding for Elisa. If Elisa’s nurse Ximena were a man, how would you feel? She’s constantly making decisions for Elisa; rather than making them with Elisa’s permission. I loved that scene. My other favorite scene is the scene with Mara and the lady’s shroud. You’ll see what I mean. It’s amazing to read a novel that doesn’t shy away from the female body image.



Mara, Elisa’s good friend, shows her colors in Crown of Embers. She doesn’t hide away her thoughts and opinions. When Elisa asks whether Mara’s ever had a lover before, she goes right out and says to Elisa:

“Mara, have you ever had a lover?”
She doesn’t hesitate. “Yes. Two.”

That’s great that she doesn’t regret her decisions and isn’t embarrassed of her sexuality. There’s no slut shaming on Elisa’s part either. I didn’t come across slut shaming once in this book. It’s fucking rare to come across a book that doesn’t do that. Mara isn’t rich or stuck-up. She’s completely happy with being herself. She’s a normal girl.


Ximena, Ximena, Ximena. She’s constantly hot and cold with me. One moment I love how kind and strong she is and the next I want to gut her. I hate, just fucking hate how she goes over Elisa’s head as if she knows what’s best for Elisa


Elisa is old enough to understand what’s right for her life. She doesn’t need some old granny doing it for her. Elisa has fought in a war as well as become Queen of Joya d’Arena. I think she fucking knows by now what she wants. Yeah. Elisa’s young. But, that doesn’t mean she can’t decide for herself. That’s it for Ximena. I’m not talking about her anymore. She pisses me off too much.


Oh, you want to know about the mushy part of Crown of Embers? Elisa and Hector…Hector and Elisa. Ah, yes. A slow burn romance. My favorite. I LOVE THE ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK! It grows so realistically and it’s so well developed that it becomes so much more satisfying than fucking insta-love. The smallest of the intimate moments become the most heart wrenching parts in my opinion. Carson creates these little descriptions between Hector and Elisa:

His gaze drops to the ground, and his chest rises and falls with a breath. “Always.”

which grow to something so much bigger:

something overtakes me, desperation maybe, and before I know it I’m slipping my hand past the tent flap. My fingers find his wrist. It shifts, and suddenly my hand is wrapped in one of Hector’s much larger ones. Something about his gentle strength brings tears to my eyes.

Although beware, the ending is utterly and completely ANGER-INDUCING! You’ll understand what I mean if you’ve read the book.