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The Empire of Dreams

por Rae Carson

Séries: Fire and Thorns (4)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1155191,026 (3.9)4
"After unearthing a conspiracy at court, Red Sparkle Stone, the foundling orphan Empress Elisa has taken under her wing, dares to become a recruit for the Royal Guard-something no woman has done before"--
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Mostrando 5 de 5
Definitely more of a 3.5.

I was so so excited when this book was announced because Girl of Fire and Thorns is one of my favorite YA trilogies from the earliest days of my blogging and I have a lot of nostalgia associated with it. But I did lose track of it among my numerous ARCs, other new releases and a reading slump, but I’m glad that I finally got around to it.

I can’t tell you how happy I was to be back in this world. The author does mention in an interview that this can be read as a standalone but I truly can’t comment on that, because my experience is completely tied up in the knowledge I come with while starting the book. It’s been almost three years, but I immediately felt familiar and could recollect all the important things that had happened in the trilogy as well as the important characters, so that I dove head first into this new story. I thought the author did a great job showing us how much and how little the world/court has changed over the years, giving us a sense of what happens after a rebellion ends and the rulers take major decisions.

Maybe because this is a standalone, I felt like it had lesser stakes (though it does get serious eventually) and that’s why it didn’t give me enough tension filled moments which I naturally expected. Most of the plot is the training of the Royal Guard which has some great scenes, but it felt very much like a slice of life story rather than a fantasy for a huge part of it. We also get two different timelines, with the past timeline recounting the history of the main character before we met her in The Bitter Kingdom, and while it was very helpful in giving us a better understanding of the character, I felt that it really created a disconnect and took attention away from the much more interesting present timeline.

I only remember Red as the little girl Elisa saved in the finale, and it was exciting to see more of her story. She has a lot of trauma from her childhood and I appreciated knowing that the ptsd representation in the book is modeled after the author’s own personal experiences. Red’s startle reflex and her trust issues are a major part of her as a person and they are due to her past, but she is also protective of those she loves and is such a genuine human being who wants to do good. Even when she is competing with the other recruits for her position in the Guard, she treats everyone well despite getting pushback and even helps them all in their training because she believes in them. I really liked her as a character and I thought the author depicted the nuances of her having a certain amount of privilege while also being surrounded by people who are prejudiced against her, in a very interesting manner.

I think the best part of the book are the various relationships Red has or forms with the various side characters. Though we get most amount of page time with Ivan, I also really loved the characters of Aldo, Pedrón, the Arturos, Itzal, Valentino and many of the other recruits. The trust they all develop between each other is beautiful to watch and its only because of them that the very easy and rushed climax even works, though not entirely convincingly. And it was such a joy to meet my favorite couple Elisa and Hector again along with the glimpses we get of Mara and Rosario.

I felt that the themes the author dealt with in this book were very thoughtful. The main one is obviously about a woman trying to make it in an all male profession, and it comes with the usual comments about a beautiful woman being a distraction or not being strong enough to be a guard and complete the training. But through Red, we see how competence will be rewarded eventually but the author also ensures that Red stands her ground most of the times, and doesn’t let anyone get away with making misogynistic and sexist comments. The other main theme is trust - how much trust and respect plays a main role when a group of people have to work together, despite their class differences or other prejudices.

But the one that really left an impression on me was about countries and treaties and people - how the leaders of enemy countries might come to a compromise for the sake of the betterment of their people, but it’s not easy to change the minds of the people whose minds are full of prejudice against each other. And that sometimes, the leaders just have to model inclusive behavior and keep at it, with the hope that people will realize the futility of being at odds in the long term.

To conclude, I think this is a fun addition to the original trilogy but I definitely enjoyed it more because of my love for the world. It has good characters and great friendships and I’m actually happy that none turned into a romance. You should definitely check it out if you love Girl of Fire and Thorns like me, and if you haven’t read the trilogy, please pick it up immediately because it’s absolutely wonderful. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Series Info/Source: This is the fourth book in the Fire and Thorns series, but takes place many years after the third book in that series. I bought this book for Kindle.

Story (5/5): This book tells Red’s story (who I struggled to remember because the third book in this series was released in 2013). Red was a side character in the original series. I really ended up enjoying this book a ton. We go back and forth between Red’s past and present, ultimately spending more time in the present. Both timeframes were really intriguing. The story is fast-paced and full of action and politics and I really loved it!

Characters (5/5): All the characters in here are incredibly well done. I loved Red and all the other characters we met in the Royal Guard. It was also very fun to see some characters from the original trilogy the way Red sees them and to see how those characters have changed over the years. Excellent characterization throughout the whole book!

Setting (5/5): It was incredibly fun to return to this intricately built fantasy world. This really is an awesome fantasy world and I loved reading another book set in it.

Writing Style (5/5): This book just reminded me of how much I love Carson’s writing style and of what an amazing writer she is. I wish she was writing more. This book was effortless to read, completely engaging, flowed well, and was just an absolutely perfect read. I do have an ARC of her upcoming book “Any Sign of Life” to review, so I should be reading that soon.

My Summary (5/5): Overall I loved this book and am so happy I finally sat down and read it. I love this world and these characters and Carson’s writing style is so amazing! I look forward to future books by her and strongly recommend this book to fans of the original trilogy. This book does stand well on it’s own too if you want to start with this one (of course there are spoilers for previous books in the series). ( )
  krau0098 | Apr 23, 2021 |
This book was everything I hoped for as a fourth book in this world. I love the new cover design and the simple pace of the story. Now I just have to get all of my friends to read the first three books so they can read this one... ( )
  Emma.June.Lyon | Feb 23, 2021 |
Literary Merit: Good
Characterization: Fine
Level: High School

I read this book for work without reading the original trilogy first. I probably missed out on a lot of the background that would have made this slow plot more interested with character development. The book seemed like it was written to give a minor character their own book and perspective after the big events of the series. But since I didn't know any of the characters I thought it was just fine. It is a fantasy but light on magic, more about characters and their training in the guard. A lot of slow scenes detailing their swordsmanship, running, fighting, etc. The book had a female main character but no romance, which is a nice change for YA. It did have quite a bit of flashbacks detailing our heroine's trauma, which were intense to read. It was too slow for me, and again because I didn't care about this character or the world. It didn't have anything that made it stand out among the hundreds of fantasy books I've already read. ( )
  SWONroyal | Jan 4, 2021 |
This is the kind of book I love to find in my mailbox, one with a rich plot, interesting characters and that's quick to get lost in. I liked the then and now counterpoint as it really helped to understand Red and what motivated her. The author notes at the end of the book how Red's PTSD is partially derived from her own. That aspect of the book was extremely well done and is the kind of character trait that makes readers root all that much more for a protagonist. I closed the cover feeling very satisfied. ( )
  sennebec | Apr 8, 2020 |
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For every reader who wrote me a letter, emailed,

or messaged me on social media to demand that I tell Red's story.

You made this book happen.

Thank you.
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The little girl's memories began in a dark cellar.
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"After unearthing a conspiracy at court, Red Sparkle Stone, the foundling orphan Empress Elisa has taken under her wing, dares to become a recruit for the Royal Guard-something no woman has done before"--

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