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.
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.