Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review: The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns, #3
Release date: August 27th 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Hardcover, 448 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

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.

A trilogy that started with superb worldbuilding and atypical characters in The Girl of Fire and Thorns and continued with court intrigue and an epic love story in The Crown and Embers deserved no less than a stellar conclusion. It was with no small amount of trepidation that I picked up Bitter Kingdom into my shaking hands, afraid but eager to learn Elisa and Hector’s fate.

In Crown of Embers, we left Elisa and Hector in a dreadful situation, apart and with far too many obstacles between them, with little hope for the future they both deserved. With that, The Bitter Kingdom promised to be a journey like no other, emotional, intense and entirely satisfying. I dare not imagine the pressure Carson was feeling while writing this finale, but I applaud her for handling it splendidly.

For the most part, Rae Carson gave her trilogy exactly the ending it deserved. We were allowed to witness our favorite characters grow, become even more independent, determined and fierce. We got to see them fight not only for the rights that were given to them by birth, but also for those they’ve acquired through bravery and intelligent handling of every situation. In the end, we were given plenty of time to say goodbye with bittersweet smiles on our faces. But was it all enough? Yes… and no.

There were, admittedly, times when I felt that pages/words could have been put to better use. Bitter Kingdom, while epic in so many ways, slowed down and almost dragged in places. The journey through the desert felt unnecessarily long and tedious, and the tunnels that came later gave me the exact same feeling. I wanted to be with these characters, but I wished they would take me somewhere else.

What The Bitter Kingdom offered that wasn’t there before were several chapters from Hector’s point of view. Usually, introducing another POV so late in a trilogy can be a double-edged sword, but for obvious reasons (i.e. our never-ending love for him) Hector’s was most welcome. I was afraid he’d lose that slightly enigmatic air about him, but even with these glimpses into his thoughts, he remained as fascinating and desirable as ever… if not more.

Along the way and perhaps despite the circumstances, Elisa became a force to be reckoned with. In The Bitter Kingdom, we find her ready to fulfill her role as the queen and bearer of the Godstone. That lost, silent girl we met in Girl of Fire and Thorns is long gone and in her place is a woman and a warrior, intelligent and fierce. Seeing her finally accept herself filled my heart with enormous pride and joy.

While this trilogy isn’t free of faults, it’s still a wonderfully imaginative YA fantasy I’ll never hesitate to recommend. I’m also quite sure we’ll see many more great books from Rae Carson and I’m anxious to learn what comes next.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Great review, Maja!

    I only wish we could have learnt more of the past from the Inviernos and Joya D'Arena, the few hints we got were so intriguing!

  2. I haven't read this series yet- I actaully used to get it confused with Throne of Glass- but I have been wanting to as they all say it's really good.

    Fantastic review, hon! <33

  3. This was most definitely the ending this particular trilogy deserved. I kind of hope she decides to revisit this world, kind of like Kristin Cashore does with her Graceling series, because there's so much more to explore! And I'd kind of like to know how Elisa's doing 10-20 years from now. Fat (again) and happy with tons of babies? Or a lean warrior with a thriving kingdom? Both?

  4. I haven't read this series yet but I do plan on it, I mean epic love story? How could I resist?
    Great review and I am so glad you were happy with the way it all came together in the end.

  5. I'm a little late in the party for this series but I've heard good (and bad) things about it. I do love switching POVs but only if done seamlessly.

    Lovely review, Maja. :)

  6. Sounds very imaginative and glad that it was a good ending to the trilogy

  7. I haven't read any of these, but that's good to hear the trilogy ended well enough! I can understand feeling like parts of a book drag that's never fun.


  8. Lovely review Maja, I haven't read this but I am glad you felt the characters and story got the ending it deserved.

  9. I'm so glad you enjoyed this for the most part, Maja. I didn't feel the same sense of tediousness - this is my favorite of the trilogy! - but I know many readers did. As long as you still desired Hector by the end, though, I figure it's all good! ;) I definitely loved the way the characters grew and changed in each installment, including this one, and I can't wait to see what Carson writes next. If it has any more swoon-worthy heroes like Hector in it, then I'm bound to love it for sure. ;) Lovely review, Maja!

  10. My copy didn't arrive in time for the 'date' I had set aside for it and now I'm dying to read it (and finally have it) but have others I am trying to read. I'm REALLY anxious to read this though!

  11. I have the first 2 on my wishlist and I knew I was going to add this one even before I read your fantastic review. I am also glad that the introduction to a new POV was welcome. Yes, that change could be tricky. Ending book are usually not my fave in a series or trilogy so I don't mind if I end up not enjoying it as much as the other two. I'm just glad you enjoyed it enough to keep on recommending it. Speaks volumes!

  12. I've been watching this trilogy around the web since it came out. It sounds like a very good one to read. :) Thank you!

  13. Thanks for sharing that Elisa grew! I was a little worried if Elisa would retreat back into being this silent, lost version of her old self because of the ending in book two. I'll definitely pick this one up to see what secrets the Inviernos were hiding.

  14. I haven't started this series, though I've heard wonderful things about it. I'm so glad you found it to be a good conclusion to the series.
    Thanks for the review!

  15. I've been wanting to give this series a try for so long! And already the trilogy has ended. I'm glad you still enjoyed the ending to the trilogy even though it had its faults :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  16. I have heard such wonderful things about this series Maja, that I'm glad that this final book also delivered a solid read. I've been getting into fantasy reads a lot more lately now, so I can't wait to dive into this series too! Wonderful review!

  17. I only read the first and last paragraphs here, as I still have to read Crown of Embers (I know!), but your rating has me really excited now. I loved the first book and look forward to catching up soon. I'm glad the trilogy ended on a high note for you, Maja! :)

  18. I've had a review copy of this for months now, and I haven't been able to bring myself to read it because I'm so worried it'll be bad! But you've given me hope!

  19. Nice review. I feel so bad that this series sounds so good yet i haven't started it yet. Thanks for the push :)


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.