Title: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Publish: August 27th, 2013 by Greenwillow Books
Source: ARC from Elderwise
Group age: Young adult
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
Challenge(s): 2013 Finish the Series
Grade rate: A+
The epic and deeply satisfying 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. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy.
Fire and Thorns is definitely one of my favorite series of all times! SO GOOD that words cannot express its awesomeness! The Bitter Kingdom did not disappoint at all. If possible each book is better than its predecessor.
When I went to BEA it was my most dear wish to find The Bitter Kingdom there, but alas it didn’t happen. While there Lexie from Poisoned Rationality told me that it was available in Edelweiss and I lost no time requesting it and it got approved (thank you Greenwillow). Needless to say I proceeded to devour The Bitter Kingdom after the cruel cliffhanger of Crown of Embers.
One of the things I like most about this book is its unbending purpose to be different. What do I mean by that? The Bitter Kingdom is unpredictable, well thought out, surprising and more. Every time I thought to myself (or talked to myself): “Hmm…. I bet now this will happen next”, it was not to be. Ms. Cason took the road less traveled and for that I thank her. The plot, as you might imagine, is a gem. The world building continues as we get to see the other parts of Joya and of course, the lair of the enemy. It is really outstanding, not just the world, but the customs, the language, the culture, the religion and much more. The writing is so good and versatile; it’s lyrical, descriptive, funny, practical and overall amazing.
On to the characters now and prepare yourselves for more gushing (I’m not embarrassed by it either!). Elisa is such a fascinating character. She starts the series by being a shy, unsecure teenager that is aware of her intelligence, but also painfully aware of her shortcomings. Over the course of the series, she changes outwardly as well as inside; she becomes confident on her abilities, she learns who to trust the right people, she learns more about her godstone and her role in the lives of others. She becomes an inspiring leader. Elisa is so smart and practical that is always a step ahead of the rest.
Hector is what I imagine a knight in shining armor would be (figuratively speaking). He is honorable, loyal, smart, unassuming, and strong, with high standards for himself and his guard. Hector and Elisa are great couple, and their romance is so sweet. Elisa finds herself in need of another politically advantageous marriage, but that is just the icing in the cake. After her parody of her marriage with Alejandro, this time around Elisa finds a loving partner in Hector and I couldn’t be happier for them.
Other important characters in this installment are Storm, Mara and Belén. Storm, if you recall from The Crown of Embers, is an Inverno prince that becomes indebted to Elisa and accompanies her to find Hector. I really warmed up to Storm in this installment and, for the record, I never doubted you Storm! Mara is Elisa’s lady in waiting and part of the resistance against Inverno, so she acts as a bodyguard as well. Belén is a complicated character that has now proven himself trustworthy and Elisa’s champion as well. I love the group of five and their interactions. Even Mula adds a lot to the story, in her innocence and blind faith.
The Bitter Kingdom is, in short, perfection. Next for me is to read the two Fire and Thorns novellas The Shattered Mountains and The King’s Guard. Of course, Ms. Carson you are now part of my ‘automatically buy’ list as you have gained a fan for life. I do hope that we get Cosmé and Alodia either in their own series or novellas (and of course I want to visit with Elisa and Hector! *Pretty please*)
About the cover: I’m not a big fan of the covers for the books, but I have to say that this one is the better of them.