ARC Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Book Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
ARC Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The Bitter Kingdom

Written by Rae Carson
(Greenwillow Books - 5/27/2013)
Series: Fire and Thorns #3
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC (448 pages)
Source: Library of Magan Bagan
Rating: 4 Stars

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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.

My Thoughts

Rae Carson has done it again. Even though I’m sad it’s over, The Bitter Kingdom is a strong ending to the Fire and Thorns series. It has all of the elements I’ve come to love and expect from this series, with a few surprises thrown in, too!

The story picked up close to where it left off in The Crown of Embers, which made it easy to get right back into the action with Elisa and company. A nice surprise, however, was the inclusion of some chapters from Hector’s point of view as well. I really liked this, especially after just having read the Hector novella: The King’s Guard.

My favorite parts were the newest addition to the cast, the dark and (quite literally) foreign kingdom of Invierne, and the continuing growth and maturity of Elisa as a woman and as a ruler. We got to see everyone at their best — and also perhaps at their worst — and this was a very satisfying element to this series conclusion.

The pace didn’t seem consistent throughout the entire book, though, and that may be my biggest complaint. Some parts dragged on for a long time, and then others felt that they wrapped up way too quickly. I honestly could have read another 100+ pages more of just the events that unfolded near the end of the book. There were also a couple of decisions Elisa made that didn’t seem characteristic of her, but I’m still not sure how to take those.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would gladly read more about these people and this world. If you haven’t read the Fire and Thorns series yet — what are you waiting for?!

Read 6 comments

  1. YET another fantasy book I have not read but really want to. Ever since REQUIEM, I’ve been getting warier of series enders, because I’m so afraid they’ll disappoint. So it’s such a relief to hear that this one definitely didn’t! I don’t know many of the characters you talked about in your review, but I’m glad that Rae gave you a bit more perspective into the story with the addition of character POVs. I’m kind of iffy about multiple POVs, though, because they mostly only serve to distance me from the characters — I can’t connect with them or get close to them before another chapter roles around and whisks me away — but this one was done in minimal (?), so I’m guessing it wasn’t much of a problem.

    I think the pacing would be my biggest issue, too, but I’m not going to ditch an entire obviously good series because of that! Gah, I hope I’ll be able to read the first book soon. *looks at towering review pile* Eh, probably not. But great review, Kelley!

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