Intelligent and thoughtful Elisa must negotiate diplomacy, religion and personal desire.
Her Majesty Queen Lucero-Elisa became sole ruler of Joya d'Arena through luck (both good and bad), wise strategic decisions and the holy magic of the Godstone embedded in her navel (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, 2011). Keeping her kingdom, on the other hand, will require diplomacy, political acumen, mercy—and deception. Elisa must fight everything from assassination attempts to rioting mobs, all while defending her country against the terrifying foreign sorcerers with "pale peach" skin and "hair the syrupy gold of honey," who only recently brought fiery destruction on her nation's capital. Elisa, deeply pragmatic and deeply religious, is required repeatedly to make intelligent, unselfish choices for the good of her nation. The lush details of this magical world are thoroughly intertwined with the profound religious faith of both heroes and villains, where each revelation leads to a crack in Elisa's worldview. Those who find no YA fantasy complete without a steamy romance will be thrilled by Elisa's growing passion for her best friend and closest adviser—who is, of course, completely off-limits.
Though this series entry moves somewhat slowly, newly discovered mysteries about this fantasyland's history—not to mention the torments of unresolved sexual tension—will have readers clamoring for volume three. (Fantasy. 13-16)