Review – The Bitter Kingdom
  • Posted:
  • April 21, 2013
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The Bitter Kingdom is the upcoming third and final book in Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns high fantasy trilogy. It marks the end of an adventure for Lucero-Elisa, a former princess of Orovalle and now Queen of Joya d’Arena. It’s been quite the journey for our heroine. Through turmoil and strife, through uncertainty and despair, Elisa has held her own and come out a woman instead of a child. And I cannot love the series more for that.

* Spoilers ahead for those who have not read The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers *

Elisa has a mission, to rescue the man she loves. Imprisoned in the heart of her enemies homeland Elisa sets out with her closest companions to recover him. Along the way the group encounters many dangers that threaten to tear them apart, as well as a new traveling companion. But the only thing on Elisa’s mind is this – can she reach him in time? Can she save him before it’s too late?

Finishing a beloved series is always (pardon the title pun) bittersweet. The end of the book is satisfying, but also a double-edged sword. The ending was beautifully written; all of the plot points ended well and the character dynamics handled spectacularly. But now it’s done, and there is a Rae Carson hole in my heart. I could have kept reading this series a little longer. But I’m happy with the ending. More than happy… Elated.

The thing that makes these books so good is Elisa. She is a perfect heroine, both in her flaws and in her strengths. She’s believable and entertaining and that’s what a reader really wants in a narrator. I admire her for the growth that she has undergone since book one. There’s only a short time gap in all three books. She starts book one at age 16 and ends this book with her at 17. This has been a tumultuous year in Elisa’s life. She has survived the desert, the sea crossing, the island, and now The Bitter Kingdom, a world of cold and ice. And death. And oppressive sorrow.

Elisa is a survivor. She’s a fighter. She’s also one of the softest, deepest, most viable characters in the Young Adult market. She is, simply, wonderful. And I’m sad to see her go.

But there is hope. Rae Carson has a new series coming out, which I am very much looking forward to reading. She has shot high into my “must-read” pantheon of readers with this trilogy. I will be reading her other books. Always.

For this book, and for the ending… and for the series – 5 out of 5 stars.

I loved this entire trilogy.

Every word. And every moment.

Farewell Elisa. I look forward to rereading you in another ten years.

– BP

* The Bitter Kingdom releases August 27, 2013. Keep watching Bibliopunkk for a contest featuring ARCs of all three books.


Julianna Helms

2013-04-29 03:34:34 Reply

Oh god, what a great review! I have a feeling there will be many, many tears come August in my household!

-Juli @ The Reviews News

    Julianna Helms

    2013-04-29 03:35:17 Reply

    Ack, my blog’s link is actually this. I mistyped it before. >.<