The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson



Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Format: E-Book
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Summary:
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.


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My Review:

Recently, I've found myself afflicted by what I've come to call "Trilogy syndrome." Basically, I find a new YA trilogy and the first book is amazing; so I wait eagerly for the second one...and it's a disappointment. Disillusioned; I read the third one anyways, and find myself regretting my decision to start the series at all. But The Bitter Kingdom - the final book in Rae Carson's excellent Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy - is a huge exception. I'm not surprised, but I am extremely excited that it lived up to my expectations. 


Seriously, though, this book and this trilogy has everything I love: a smart, strong heroine who it's honestly impossible not to root for (her character development over the course of the series is insane and so realistic); a world so well-built that I actually felt like I was living in it, and a romance that had me absolutely glued to the pages. Side note: I love how Hector isn't Elisa's first love/"soulmate," but rather someone she chooses to be with because she knows what mature love is. Their relationship is somehow dynamic and dramatic without being scary or unhealthy at times. I don't know how Carson managed it, but I am not complaining.

In terms of plot stuff; I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that Elisa learns a lot more about her supposed destiny and heritage; and the book's message of choosing your own fate and the amazing things one person can accomplish is reinforced. The conflict between the Inviernos and Elisa's realm is very well done; as is the direction Carson chooses to take it. 

Overall, I would recommend not just this book, but the entire trilogy. And not to a specific audience, either: to everyone who reads YA at all. Yeah, it's that good; and indeed my only regret about finishing so quickly is that it's over now. I can't wait to read Carson's future novels. She's an absolutely tremendous talent; and I hope she continues to create dynamic, well-drawn YA worlds and characters. 


My Rating:












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