Title: The Bitter Kingdom
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #3
Author: Rae Carson
Publish date: August 27th 2013 by Greenwillow Books
Source: Received for review via Edelweiss
The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.
I got SO SUPER EXCITED when I was approved for The Bitter Kingdom and my excitement was more than warranted. I read and loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, so I was chomping at the bit for The Bitter Kingdom.
Guys, thinking about Elisa’s character arc almost brings a tear to my eye. Scratch that, forget the almost. I’ve fixated on it now and there are FEELINGS in me. She has come SO amazingly far from where we met her The Girl of Fire and Thorns. From an insecure princess who does what she’s told without demanding to know why to a freaking QUEEN– a confident one who’s learned to love herself. She considers other people’s advice, accepts allies but MAKES HER OWN DAMN DECISIONS. Even when they come from the main man in her life:
HECTOR. Oh Hector, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
1) You don’t get your man parts in a major tangle over Elisa coming to your rescue.
2) You treat her as an EQUAL and let her do what she needs to– even if it means you’re not at her side CONSTANTLY.
3) You’re kick-ass yourself.
4) You have some of these LINES that make me all weak in the knees.
Okay, I must chill with the Hector love. Because yes, I love him, I love Elisa, and I love him and Elisa together, but I think you guys GET THE PICTURE NOW.
So onto other The Bitter Kingdom goodness. Like the world-building that continues in this book. I think world-building in general is a big challenge of writing fantasy, but I’m continually amazed at how well some authors are able to expand those worlds in ways that are realistic and amazing. You see the different cultures present in Elisa’s world in this book and it’s positively fascinating.
I also love how DIMENSIONAL even secondary characters are. You see what their motivations are and understand their flaws and WHY they do the things they do.
In short, The Bitter Kingdom was an incredible book and a phenomenal conclusion to a beloved trilogy. I’ll miss Elisa, Hector, and their world like whoa.
Need a second opinion?
“This series has it all. Strong characters. Hector. A well-defined heroine who’s easy to root for. Hector. Tremendous world building, tremendous Hector, a full cast of Hectors characters, spellbinding romance.” -Writer of Wrongs
“Rae Carson is a force to be reckoned with, no questions asked.” – Lili’s Reflections
“The Bitter Kingdom is a lovely, satisfying ending to one of my favorite series of all time.” -Bookshelvers Anonymous