Monday, May 20, 2013

Epically Devoted to You

Expected Publication:  August 27th, 2013
The Bitter Kingdom (Girl of Fire and Thorns # 3)
By: Rae Carson
Greenwillow Books
ISBN-13:  9780062026545

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.

"Carson joins the ranks of writers like Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner, and Tamora Pierce as one of YA's best writers of high fantasy."-Locus magazine

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.

     Elisa is now an outcast from her own kingdom as she flees after a betrayal and somewhat successful  from one of her noble subjects, who is out to steal her crown.  But she is also on a journey to rescues Hector, the leader of the royal guard (and the man she loves) from death at the hands of the Invierne.  With the help of some old friends and some new ones, and some surprises along the way, Elisa will travel through hostile territory into a land that could devour her.  Will she be able to save Hector without sacrificing herself?  And when they escape Invierno will there be a kingdom left to return to?  So, this book was EPIC!  A summary can never quite do it justice and the one I've provided definitely reinforces that fact.  The journey from Elisa's kingdom into enemy land with Beren, Mara and Storm (former Invierne royalty) was the start of the book, but it's once they rescue Hector that shit really starts to go down.  Once they are in Invierno (having picked up a stray along the way) and have rescued Hector, the Invierne council tries to trick them and they end up escaping through mines with a supposed monster lurking in them.  I kid you not (and you will see this comparison a lot most likely) but the only thing running through my mind was the adventure in Lord of the Rings down in the mines of Moria!  Things are tied up quite nicely with Elisa's godstone as well, when she manages to complete her appointed task and it is no longer part of her life.  I have to say that a lot of my favorite parts of this book involved Elisa's friend Storm and the little slave girl they pick up, 'Mula', who later renames herself.  There are reappearances by Ximena, our favorite priest and of course, Cosme and Alodia who learn once and for all not to underestimate Elisa who shows them just what a bad-ass she is when they all come under attack!  I did like that Alodia and Elisa's relationship and their issues with one another are NOT just resolved with a neat bow and given an easy solution.  Yes, they love each other but they will always have a strained and uneasy relationship because of their interactions and dynamic growing up.  Thank you Rae Carson, for giving us some REAL siblings instead of the generic BFFs found oftentimes in YA. 
      There is some heavy political dealing going on in this book, with contracts being signed and empires being created.  But it never takes over the characters which are the main focus of the plot, and so manages to avoid straying into the realm of boring.  I did think that the sudden control of the godstone magic that both Elisa and Storm gain in the middle of the book was somewhat contrived and I felt like it was in there as a bit of a plot device.  But it didn't bother me, because the action was non-stop and distracted me from it's un-believability at times.  The majority of this book was gritty and realistic though, in the best way possible.  Not everyone is always happy with Elisa and sometimes doing the right thing means potentially hurting others and destroying property.  This is also represented in the portions of the novel narrated in Hector's P.O.V. where we get a look inside his mind and are able to see the events of his captivity and subsequent rescue/escape unfold.  He is definitely a kick-ass hero for sure.  Strong and silent, but we get to see his deeper feelings as well.  A well done P.O.V. switch, which can be a difficult thing to pull off.  Especially in the last novel of a series with an established pattern of narration. 
      The ending of the book was awesome and there were some truly great parts to this book, but the message of empowerment and self-confidence was definitely a gigantic part of this book.  It was a great ending to a consistently great series.  I won't say any more to avoid spoilers, but if you're a fan of the first two in the series, you will be satisfied with the conclusion for sure.

Most Memorable Quotes:

(Storm's reaction to Elisa's sister Alodia)

'She's wonderful.' said Storm.  He wears a loopy smile, as if someone put a little too much duerma leaf in last night's tea."

(Elisa's and Alodia talk about her 'beauty'.  Best quote in a YA book EVER!)

'I startle at the compliment. Then I smile. "I'm beautiful to the one person who matters."
[Alodia] nods. "Hector's mouth will drop open when he sees you."
"I hope so. But I meant me. I'm beautiful to me." 

VERDICT:  4.75/5  Stars

*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is August 27th, 2013.*


  1. This one sounds so good! I've yet to read the second novel in this series, but I'll have to remember to pick up a copy soon. There was so much character development in the first novel, and I can't wait to read more about Elisa's adventures. :D Really cool review.

    Daphne @ Reading Until Dawn

    1. Oh my God Daphne, it was SOOOOOO good and a stellar way to end the series. I feel like she managed what Kristin Cashore was trying to do in Bitterblue and couldn't quite manage (although being a companion, that's a whole different duck in the pond). You should definitely continue the series! :)


Comments are much appreciated and I always read them with a smile on my face! :) While I appreciate the thought, this an award-free blog as well. I just don't have the time to keep up with it. Thank you for my smiles and please share your thoughts! Also, sorry for the Captcha, but I've been getting a lot of spam lately!