I really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns when I read it earlier this year and I bought this one when it came out. I started it straight after I finished Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, but it’s taken me a long time to read it. That’s no fault of the book, but life getting in the way. I’ve been tired lately and that, combined with a week on single-parenting (real single parents, you have my utmost admiration; I don’t know how you do it), left me not really reading and the book sitting there unfinished.
It’s only this last week that I really picked it up again, and once I got going, I found I really loved it.
Elisa’s success at the end of the first book hasn’t made things easy for her. If anything, it may have made it harder. In some ways, this is a more political book than the first, as she tries to hold onto her new throne. The first half of the book is set in Brisadulce as she begins to see just what she is up against and tries to find the best way to stay in control.
Of course, God and the Godstone haven’t finished with her yet, and in the second half of the book she is travelling again, trying to balance destiny and duty, not to mention love. I thought her romance (and if you’ve read the first book I’m sure you’ll know with whom, but I’m not going to spoil it) was lovely as both of them try to first deny and then cling to duty. Elisa’s decision at the end – and the fallout that is surely going to come in the next book – was excellent and while I’ll concede it was convenient that something previously negative is now a positive, I didn’t care. It was lovely.
I had liked the hints in the first book that people were on this world through the hand of God’s deliverance and was hoping to learn more in this one. There was only a little bit, but I didn’t guess the next level of information at all (in retrospect, maybe I should have, but I didn’t) and I was delighted with the implications. I love this sort of thing and I hope it will be developed even further in the next (last?) book.
So all in all, I found this a very satisfying read and I’m eager to find out what happens next, since the book ends on what I guess should be called a cliffhanger. That doesn’t feel like quite the right term to me, however. It’s abrupt and we don’t know how things will turn out, but it’s more like a turning point than a cliffhanger. Whichever, I want to know how it ends. Fall 2013 is almost a year away, isn’t it? Sigh. I don’t want to wait that long.