Book Review: The Bitter Kingdom

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)
The Bitter Kingdom
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Release date: August 27, 2013
Genre: YA fantasy
400 pages
I could barely stand waiting for this book, and when I finally got my chance, I chewed through it in two days, despite working full time and all the commitments that come with being a wife and mom. Since finishing, I have picked it back up several times to look over a passage, and accidentally re-read several chapters. This series is on the short list of my favorite current works, and The Bitter Kingdom is a perfect conclusion to the whole journey.

This book begins with Elisa leading a small group on yet another journey. This time, instead of enjoying the safety of being at Hector's side, she seeks to rescue the man who has been her rescuer time and again. Hector has been taken hostage to guarantee that she will meet his captors' demands. They are right to assume that she will do anything to free him. They are wrong to underestimate her.

I have listed above links to my reviews of the other books, as well as a character feature each on both Hector and Elisa. If you follow only one of those links, read the Book BFF feature. The evolution of Elisa as a character is the best thing about this series, and the most important reason for girls of every age to read it. She embodies both strength and intelligence, qualities to which we should aspire. She gives herself over to the service of her people, and acts with a quiet courage that makes her a formidable opponent.

The writing in the beginning of the series was good, and has improved with every volume. Rae Carson has become quite adept at pacing, sprinkling quiet scenes of dialogue among the grand adventurous travel scenes. The description is crisp and detailed without weighing down the plot. Characters are developed through their behavior rather than their words. I'm excited to see what Carson writes next.

This series is so beautifully written, so achingly romantic, that it feels that when I am reading it, I breathe more deeply and see more fully all the wonders of the world around me. This is what truly well-written literature is supposed to do: bring you to a better understanding of your own reality through experiencing a character's fictitious one. Because the whole Fire and Thorns series does this for me, I will read it again and again. 

Summary from Goodreads:
"Rae Carson has proved she's a master and has shaken up the YA genre."

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.


  1. This series has been on my radar for a long time, I don't know why I have not read it yet. After reading this review, I think I'm finally motivated to get started.

  2. Wow, this sounds full of amazing!

    1. It is at the top of my list that I recommend to friends!

  3. I love Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore, this is my type of book :) thanks for the review

  4. Fab review!
    If it can pull you back, again and again, it MUST be good.


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