The Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4)
New York Times-bestselling author Rae Carson makes a triumphant return to the world of her award-winning Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy in this extraordinary stand-alone novel. With action, adventure, and a heroine set on destroying the patriarchal limits meant to keep her in her place, The Empire of Dreams once again proves that Rae Carson is a master of epic fantasy.Even though Red Sparkle Stone is a foundling orphan with an odd name and a veiled past, she's about to be adopted into the royal family—by Empress Elisa herself. Sixteen-year-old Red can hardly believe her luck. Then, in a stunning political masterstroke, the empress's greatest rival blocks the adoption, and Red is left with no family and no future.Grieving and lost, but determined to find her place, Red hatches a daring plan: she will prove herself as a recruit for the world's most elite fighting force, the legendary Royal Guard—something no woman has done before. But it's no coincidence that someone wanted her to fail as a princess, someone whose shadowy agenda puts everything she loves at risk. As danger closes in, it will be up to Red and her new friends—and maybe some new enemies—to save the empire. If they can survive recruitment year.

The Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4) Details

TitleThe Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherGreenwillow Books
ISBN-139780062691927
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult

The Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4) Review

  • Pie
    January 1, 1970
    ARE YOU KIDDING I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR ANOTHER FIRE AND THORNS BOOK FOR 7 YEARS!!
  • Lucia
    January 1, 1970
    DNFI adored initial Fire and Thorns trilogy (read my spoiler free series review here) but unfortunately this spin-off didn't have the same drive and appeal for me. Simply said, storyline wasn't very engaging. It all comes down to the fact that I couldn't connect with Red (MC) and therefore found her story boring.All that aside, Mrs. Carson really can write and this is nicely written YA fantasy novel that will definitely find its audience. It just wasnt't for me.*ARC provided by publisher as an DNFI adored initial Fire and Thorns trilogy (read my spoiler free series review here) but unfortunately this spin-off didn't have the same drive and appeal for me. Simply said, storyline wasn't very engaging. It all comes down to the fact that I couldn't connect with Red (MC) and therefore found her story boring.All that aside, Mrs. Carson really can write and this is nicely written YA fantasy novel that will definitely find its audience. It just wasnt't for me.*ARC provided by publisher as an exchange for honest review*
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  • Peace
    January 1, 1970
    Full review coming soon, but I LOVED it. (I got an e-galley from EpicReads Insiders)
  • julianna ➹
    January 1, 1970
    okay but also: girl of fire and thorns was one of my favorite series, ever, soooooooooooooo let's see
  • Lexie
    January 1, 1970
    Elisa's story holds a special place in my heart. That trilogy (and short stories) are among my favorite fantasies as they combined everything I love about fantasy into one series.So yes of course I was excited for this book. A revisit to characters of my heart? A broadening of a world I adore? Sign me up!What I didn't expect was a novel that while its a wonderful sequel to Elisa's adventures is almost perfect on its own.I won't deny that having some knowledge of the world didn't help me, nor Elisa's story holds a special place in my heart. That trilogy (and short stories) are among my favorite fantasies as they combined everything I love about fantasy into one series.So yes of course I was excited for this book. A revisit to characters of my heart? A broadening of a world I adore? Sign me up!What I didn't expect was a novel that while its a wonderful sequel to Elisa's adventures is almost perfect on its own.I won't deny that having some knowledge of the world didn't help me, nor that knowing some of the characters already didn't give me an idea of what to expect at times. Here's the thing - this is not Elisa's story. Nor Mara's or Hector's. This is squarely Red's with back up from Rosario.This is also not a "new generation same story" situation. Red's troubles, trials and tribulations are uniquely her own. Unlike Elisa who made and found friends fairly easily, Red is despised just by being in the same room. She's not sweet tempered or patient; she's rocky and brash, having to learn how to accept help from others.There's a mystery brewing throughout that is well sewn. Carson has always excelled at weaving necessary plot information in a genuine way. The "Then" chapters, detailing Red's life up to that fateful meeting with Elisa give us a good guide as to why she's acting as she does. Carson offers a short explanation about PTSD in her author's note as well.They did detract from the onward motion of the plot at times. Red relays some of her history in the story itself (as context) so occassionally it felt repetitive to have read it twice.All in all I'd love to see more of Red as she continued her journey, but I'm just happy to have this one.
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  • Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you HarperCollins and Greenwillow Books for the ARC.Blog | Twitter | Instagram | BlogLovin’
  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    SHUT UP. Why didn't I realize this was set in the same world as Fire and Thorns?!?Also, why must 2020 be so far away????Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Youtube
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Ohmygodohmygodogmygod! More Girl of Fire and Thorns world!! Ahhhhhh!!!
  • Jess (The Lives of A Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    OMG WHAT how did I not know about a fire and thorns spinoff sooner???
  • Brandon St Mark
    January 1, 1970
    I always enjoy Carson's novels (one of few YA authors who I can say that with), so you know my pre-order is on lock.
  • Chelsey
    January 1, 1970
    Red Sparkle Stone is about to complete the unlikeliest of transformations: from slave to princess of the empire of Joya d'Arena. But when everything goes wrong at her formal adoption ceremony, the royal family fears betrayal is surrounding them. Eager to prove herself, Red decides to join the Royal Guard as a recruit. Can she survive training, but more importantly, uncover the plot against the heirs to the throne?This definitely works as a standalone novel. I was fully engaged by both Red's Red Sparkle Stone is about to complete the unlikeliest of transformations: from slave to princess of the empire of Joya d'Arena. But when everything goes wrong at her formal adoption ceremony, the royal family fears betrayal is surrounding them. Eager to prove herself, Red decides to join the Royal Guard as a recruit. Can she survive training, but more importantly, uncover the plot against the heirs to the throne?This definitely works as a standalone novel. I was fully engaged by both Red's background story as well as the present-day drama unfolding in the sand. Squeaky clean, this would work for middle grade as well as high school. I ate it up and would definitely read a sequel...or perhaps I should just go back and read the original trilogy.
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  • Tekla
    January 1, 1970
    Time for a re-read of the series!!
  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    а вот это вот щас внезапно! не знаю как я отношусь к идее неожиданного продолжения трилогии, которая считалась законченной, но надо проверить, конечно
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  • Karyn Silverman
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it! Can’t wait to share it with others. Great as book 4 but also stands alone.
  • Alice Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsFirst 25%: 3 starsLast 75%: 5 starsI'll preface this by saying I have not read the Fire and Thorns Trilogy, but I immediately checked the first book out from the library after finishing The Empire of Dreams. The first quarter of this book started out pretty slow. There just wasn't a lot differentiating it from many other YA fantasy novels, and I initially had trouble getting absorbed in the story and caring about the characters (Plus, the main character's name. It's at least 4.5 starsFirst 25%: 3 starsLast 75%: 5 starsI'll preface this by saying I have not read the Fire and Thorns Trilogy, but I immediately checked the first book out from the library after finishing The Empire of Dreams. The first quarter of this book started out pretty slow. There just wasn't a lot differentiating it from many other YA fantasy novels, and I initially had trouble getting absorbed in the story and caring about the characters (Plus, the main character's name. It's at least acknowledged that it's ridiculous, but still). It took me a couple of weeks to get through this section, but I am so glad I stuck with it. (I finished the last three-quarters in a day.)First, let me get this minor spoiler/thing I loved out of the way: (view spoiler)[ For once in the history of YA fantasy the heroine has a completely platonic relationship with the prince! The potential love interest has a much more unique background. (hide spoiler)]Anyway, the last three-quarters of the book really pick up, not only plot-wise, but character-wise. Until then, the primary characters are our heroine and the royal family. Later on in the book, all those characters develop and become much more interesting and complex, but before then there isn't a lot setting them apart from other royal families. I just really love all the characters introduced at that 25% mark, as well as some additional members of the court. Also, the "Then" chapters concerning Red's childhood remain interesting and engaging. It's easy to mess up multiple timelines, but Carson handles it well. So, this book may start out a bit slow, but stick with it: you won't regret it!I received an e-galley from EpicReads Insiders.Recommendations: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang: If you want a non-YA version of the girl attends a warrior school and proceeds to kick ass story, this is your book! Seriously though, both The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic are incredibly original and among my all-time favorites.A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: Once again, not YA, but with a similar ward-of-the-royal-family situation and lots of magic!Everless by Sara Holland: An awesome YA fantasy novel with an original and interesting magic system and lots of royal intrigue!
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  • Perla The IB Teen Book Blogger
    January 1, 1970
    Returning to the kingdom of Joya d'Arena and all my beloved characters; Hector (dreamy sigh), Elisa, Rosario, and most especially for this book, Red, was an absolute wonder and a privilege. I never thought I'd get to come back and see new adventures, see them grown into their lives.But this book is about Red, and Red Sparkle Stone is a lady after my own heart- she always has been. Where Elisa was the character of my heart- because she is the ONE character who I related to on a human level, Red Returning to the kingdom of Joya d'Arena and all my beloved characters; Hector (dreamy sigh), Elisa, Rosario, and most especially for this book, Red, was an absolute wonder and a privilege. I never thought I'd get to come back and see new adventures, see them grown into their lives.But this book is about Red, and Red Sparkle Stone is a lady after my own heart- she always has been. Where Elisa was the character of my heart- because she is the ONE character who I related to on a human level, Red is the girl of fire I wish I could one day be. She has no quit in her. And now after reading her story, I can see that she never did. The Royal Guard has ALWAYS had a special place in my heart, after all it was where I found Lord Commander Hector and his mustache! But these most noble and brave people had so much story to tell. I loved seeing a bit of it in Hector's origin story in The King's Guard, and I loved seeing more of the inner workings of this elite guard here in Empire of Dreams. The new characters were brilliantly realized and I loved seeing them go from competitors, to real brothers- and sister- in arms. As always Rae Carson brought a delicious sizzle of court and political intrigue, placing a still very young Prince Rosario in charge of the stronghold while Elisa and most of their closest allies are away. Rosario is unsure of himself in private moments, but his strength and bravery and a sharp mind are all on full display here. Red is complicated, strong, yearning for belonging and acceptance, and all of that added to the things she has learned in our time apart- from Elisa, from Hector, from a royal education- have made her this multifaceted and intriguing hero to follow on this most auspicious a journey. She will not let the trauma of her past negate or destroy the possibilities of her bright future. I loved this book, it is a most worthy, and needed, addition to my most favorite fantasy series. I hope this isn't goodbye, only until we meet again.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Electronic ARC provided by Edelweiss."Empire of Dreams" occurs several years after the end of Carson's "Fire and Thorns" trilogy, and focuses on the somewhat oddly named Red Sparkle Stone. Red is a foundling with a troubled past, but as this book opens she is about to be officially adopted into the royal family by Empress Elena. Unfortunately the adoption is blocked at the last moment by Elena's political rivals, and Red is left once again to figure out what her future is going to be. Red is a Electronic ARC provided by Edelweiss."Empire of Dreams" occurs several years after the end of Carson's "Fire and Thorns" trilogy, and focuses on the somewhat oddly named Red Sparkle Stone. Red is a foundling with a troubled past, but as this book opens she is about to be officially adopted into the royal family by Empress Elena. Unfortunately the adoption is blocked at the last moment by Elena's political rivals, and Red is left once again to figure out what her future is going to be. Red is a well drawn, troubled main character who is doing her best to build a future in a world that doesn't always have a place for her. Temporarily separated from her entire support system she has to make new allies as she joins royal guard training and works to uncover a plot against the royal family. Readers who are familiar with the previous Fire and Thorns books will enjoy seeing glimpses of old favorites, but this book should also be an good entry point for new readers. The story mostly stands alone and the new characters are engaging. I'm glad to see Rae Carson's revisiting this series and I hope she writes more stories about these characters in the future.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC (e-galley from EpicReads) of this and absolutely LOVED it. I have yet to read other books by Carson but I am sure to now. This book is great as a stand alone, so even if you haven't read the others in the series (like me) you can 100% still enjoy it. A few things I loved about this book:It helped me get out of a reading slumpThe PTSD awareness is so important and I'm glad the author emphasizes thisThe flashbacks didn't distract from the story, they enhanced the novel perfectly I received an ARC (e-galley from EpicReads) of this and absolutely LOVED it. I have yet to read other books by Carson but I am sure to now. This book is great as a stand alone, so even if you haven't read the others in the series (like me) you can 100% still enjoy it. A few things I loved about this book:It helped me get out of a reading slumpThe PTSD awareness is so important and I'm glad the author emphasizes thisThe flashbacks didn't distract from the story, they enhanced the novel perfectly and always gave the right information at the right moment.Original content. No love triangles, no cliches, various character personalities, the whole package. The ending was not predictable, and didn't leave me questioning what actually happened. Absolutely left me satisfied and wanting more of Rae Carson's writing.
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  • Miranda
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher for access to this title in return for a fair review.From the time I read A Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson became a favorite author. If she writes it, I want to read it. I've read each new novel as it's been published, and then had to impatiently wait for more. So when I learned about her newest book, I knew I needed to read it. And when I saw it was all about Red and a part of the Fire and Thorns series, I knew it would be great. And it is!Red's story is a tale Thank you to the publisher for access to this title in return for a fair review.From the time I read A Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson became a favorite author. If she writes it, I want to read it. I've read each new novel as it's been published, and then had to impatiently wait for more. So when I learned about her newest book, I knew I needed to read it. And when I saw it was all about Red and a part of the Fire and Thorns series, I knew it would be great. And it is!Red's story is a tale of PTSD and how it can affect a person's behavior and interactions with others. But it is also a tale of family and belonging and doing everything you can to protect those you love. This is a wonderful read for those who love the first three books, but it can also be read by itself for those who haven't yet discovered this world.
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  • Stacy Books
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful ending (unless more of Red’s story is to come?) to this amazing series! Carson’s writing is superb as usual; the story feels like a natural continuation of the original trilogy, blending Red’s story seamlessly into Elisa’s kingdom. Red is a strong and determined female lead, yet is still relatable as she deals with PTSD and feelings of unworthiness. The action, dialogue, and character building are pure Carson and pure fire. I also liked that there is no romance; Red’s What a beautiful ending (unless more of Red’s story is to come?) to this amazing series! Carson’s writing is superb as usual; the story feels like a natural continuation of the original trilogy, blending Red’s story seamlessly into Elisa’s kingdom. Red is a strong and determined female lead, yet is still relatable as she deals with PTSD and feelings of unworthiness. The action, dialogue, and character building are pure Carson and pure fire. I also liked that there is no romance; Red’s relationships with her family and friends are so powerful, readers will not miss the lack of a romantic trope. The only downside for me is the final scene at the gala felt quite rushed, with the ending wrapped up a bit too neatly. But true fans will get the story they demanded to read and love every part of it.
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  • Jessica (Jessabella Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! One of my all-time favorite series and I couldn’t get enough! So incredibly glad that Rae decided to tell Red’s story...it was a long time coming and this book completely met my high expectations set when I read the first 3 books in the Fire and Thorns series years ago. Was awesome to be able to come back to a world that I ADORED and see it from an entirely different perspective! If you haven’t read any of the books in this series yet, I highly recommend grabbing the first ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! One of my all-time favorite series and I couldn’t get enough! So incredibly glad that Rae decided to tell Red’s story...it was a long time coming and this book completely met my high expectations set when I read the first 3 books in the Fire and Thorns series years ago. Was awesome to be able to come back to a world that I ADORED and see it from an entirely different perspective! If you haven’t read any of the books in this series yet, I highly recommend grabbing the first one! If you have read the first three books....YOU NEED TO READ EMPIRE OF DREAMS ASAP!
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  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant addition to the Girl of Fire and Thorns world. Red is loved the moment we are introduced to her in the first trilogy and Rae Carson gives us more to love in this novel. Red's personal journey is relatable; the fight to prove herself to those around her and realize she is worth more than she thought is something we all can relate to. And in true form, the supporting characters are well rounded and distinctly voiced. It's great to see old friends and meet new ones in this world that I A brilliant addition to the Girl of Fire and Thorns world. Red is loved the moment we are introduced to her in the first trilogy and Rae Carson gives us more to love in this novel. Red's personal journey is relatable; the fight to prove herself to those around her and realize she is worth more than she thought is something we all can relate to. And in true form, the supporting characters are well rounded and distinctly voiced. It's great to see old friends and meet new ones in this world that I fell in love with years ago. I'm already dying for the next one!
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    #TheEmpireofDreams#RaeCarson#EdelweissThank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson.What a wonderful read! Rae Carson is an amazing writer. The Empire of Dreams brings the beautiful and dynamic Elisa back with new characters. A great adventure that hopefully will turn into more books for this series. YAY!
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  • Bookaholic
    January 1, 1970
    A NEW FIRE AND THORNS BOOK OMGGG WHAT IS THISSSSS I AM HAVING A MELTDOWN!!!!
  • Aditi
    January 1, 1970
    I
  • Mecca-Amirah Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT! HUH? YES, PLEASE
  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    A great addition to the series, but also an excellent stand alone. I was so glad to dive back into this world.
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Seven years after the third book in her Fire and Thorns trilogy, Rae Carson has returned to the world of Joya D'Arena, and the series has been updated with new covers to match that of The Empire of Dreams, which will be released on April 7, 2020. It’s the story of Red Sparkle Stone, the girl rescued by Elisa in the original trilogy, a girl with a mysterious past and an uncertain future.Red is Elisa’s ward and is about I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Seven years after the third book in her Fire and Thorns trilogy, Rae Carson has returned to the world of Joya D'Arena, and the series has been updated with new covers to match that of The Empire of Dreams, which will be released on April 7, 2020. It’s the story of Red Sparkle Stone, the girl rescued by Elisa in the original trilogy, a girl with a mysterious past and an uncertain future.Red is Elisa’s ward and is about to be officially adopted into the royal family of Joya D’Arena, but a sudden political stunt blocks it, leaving the family and Red reeling. Refusing to be defeated and driven away by political rivals, Red instead enrolls in Royal Guard training, giving up any official status she has as a royal ward, and dedicates herself to proving that she can protect those she loves with a skill equal to any young man in her class of guard applicants. But while guards are apolitical on paper, family politics and rivalries enter the guard barracks, leaving Red to scramble to both stay in training as well as find people she can trust. As she moves through training, Red’s murky past is slowly revealed in flashbacks, stolen from her home and sold into blood slavery. Red’s past accompanies her even in safety, her PTSD is referred to as “soldier sickness” and is discussed as something soldiers often develop after battle. It’s viewed with sympathy but no accommodation, something that she has to deal with on her own and without anyone making it easier for her. In the author’s note, Carson notes that her father stole her from her mother at a young age and went on the run with her for over a month, and that she developed PTSD from the experience. I appreciated Carson’s honesty about her experience, giving context to the choice to give Red PTSD.Returning to Joya D’Arena needed more context for me-- I hadn’t read the books since probably 2014, so I was rusty on much of the political machination that led to the events of this book, and I didn’t remember how Red came to join Elisa’s family (this is one of the flashbacks, thank goodness). A brief introduction to the background, even just something from the view of the royal archivist or historian would have been nice. While this is listed as a stand-alone, I don’t think the story would have as much impact if the reader didn’t read the original trilogy that preceded it. Who I’ll recommend the book to: previous fans of Carson’s high fantasy. Who I’ll recommend the series to: fans of female protagonists who are canny and imperfect but determined, fans of YA with political scheming. Elisa isn’t a fighter but she and her advisors are good at politicking.
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