Book Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Title – Author: The Bitter Kingdom – Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Series/Standalone: Series – Fire and Thorns #3
Format – Source: ARC – Borrowed

In the epic conclusion to the Fire and Thorns trilogy, Elisa faces her toughest challenge yet. With a civil war brewing in her country, Elisa must travel into enemy territory to rescue her love, Hector, and save her kingdom. The enemy wants Elisa and she’ll have to use all her wits and powers to thwart them. Along the way she discovers secrets from the past that could change her kingdom’s entire future.

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It’s always bittersweet saying goodbye to beloved characters like Elisa and Hector, but Rae Carson delivers a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to their story. With romance and action, The Bitter Kingdom is exactly what I wanted.

The most remarkable part about this series has been Elisa’s transformation. She begins her story as an overweight princess with little self-confidence who has always been overshadowed by her beautiful and successful sister. As she faces battles and tragedy, she grows into her own. You can really see the difference in Elisa in The Bitter Kingdom. She’s confident, forceful, and at home in her role as a leader and a queen. She finally realizes that all of her worth isn’t just in her Godstone; she is someone who wants to and does affect change in her world. Through sheer force of will, political machinations, and crazy-dangerous plans, Elisa transforms not only the future of her own kingdom, but also those of her friend Cosme, her sister Alodia, and her enemy.

Hector is one of my favorite men in YA and he’s still totally swoon-worthy in this book. He knows his own heart, but his moments of vulnerability with Elisa are so adorable and endearing. These moments are especially effective when balanced with the times when he’s a total badass warrior, even fighting when grievously injured.

A big difference with this book is that we get some chapters in Hector’s point of view. While I loved getting to see inside Hector’s mind, I didn’t really enjoy how inconsistent his chapters were in the book (there aren’t many and they’re randomly scattered throughout the book). Maybe I’m just used to only reading Elisa’s voice. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of switching POVs, but this was seriously the most minor issue ever. I still loved the story so much.

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You won’t be disappointed with how The Bitter Kingdom concludes the saga that has been Elisa’s journey from overlooked princess to warrior queen.

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8 – deserving of a re-read – Fred Weasley



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