|Empire of dreams|
Author: Carson, Rae
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.
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/20)
School Library Journal (02/01/20)
The Hornbook (00/03/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 8 Up–Red Sparkle Stone, the strong-willed and courageous girl from the final book in Carson's "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" fantasy trilogy, stars in this rousing companion novel. The story moves between past and present as it recounts Red's horrific childhood and her life now as the 17-year-old ward to Empress Elisa. Denied the opportunity to become Elisa's imperial adopted daughter, Red becomes the first girl to train for the Royal Guard and endures harassment and worse by male recruits. The Guards training the recruits are men Red doesn't know from her time living in the palace, and she's immediately suspicious of them, especially after the captain of the Guard goes missing. Others loyal to the Crown Prince Rosario are being attacked or killed or have disappeared. Red instantly clashes with handsome recruit Iván, the son of a traitor to the empire, even as they are forced to secretly work together to protect Rosario from being assassinated by his enemies. Familiar characters from "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" series appear but remain mostly on the sidelines. Red's a strong, forthright, and feisty young woman, and her struggle to prove herself among the men while living with post-traumatic stress disorder is sensitively and realistically handled. This fantasy adventure also touches on themes of friendship, forgiveness, fathers' sins, betrayal, revenge, and resilience. VERDICT An exciting, satisfying read that will appeal to lovers of "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" or fans of Tamora Pierce's "Protector of the Small" series.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 When Red’s formal adoption into the Joyan royal family is thwarted by Empress Elisa’s enemies, she opts to enlist in the Royal Guard so that she can stay near those she loves—despite there having never before been a female guardsman. As Red trains, she also uncovers a deeper plot to overthrow the throne. Avenues of help are closing one by one, and it may come down to Red and her fellow first-year recruits to save the kingdom. Carson creates a worthy and sympathetic hero in Red, a minor character from the Girl of Fire and Thorns series, whom readers come to know through intermittent chapters that reveal a traumatic childhood. Her resulting PTSD is an occasional issue as well as an odd kind of protection while she unravels the source of political unrest and copes with being female and quasi-royalty in the Guard. Action, adventure, betrayal, and poison add up to a winner of a companion novel to be read alongside or after the series and related novella. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.