Thursday, November 14, 2013

The bitter kingdom by Rae Carson

The bitter kingdom is the third and final book in the girl of fire and thorns trilogy so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first two books in the series.  If you like reading series in order without spoilers then read The girl of fire and thorns and The crown of embers first.

Elisa has grown accustomed to having a life that is not her own - she is the bearer of a living Godstone, she has become queen of a country where she is a foreigner, she has become a young widow with the death of her husband, and she must make sacrifices to save her new country.  But Elisa is also a young woman who is beginning to understand the power she has over her own decisions, which is why she is travelling through hostile territory in the hope that she can catch up with the men who have taken her beloved Hector captive - and why she is determined to enter the Invierno homeland to put a stop to the hostilities between the two nations once and for all.

The journey was never meant to be easy, but it seems as though there is a new danger around every corner and even their small party can not travel without raising curiosity and the chance of discovery.  Her determination may be the only thing that keeps Elisa fighting to the end, but determination is not enough to keep away danger, hunger, and the crashing elements.  Elisa is fast approaching the moment when she must prove herself to her enemies, to her friends, and most importantly to herself.  Despite her strength Elisa still finds herself too trusting and her desire for peace for herself and her people may be her ultimate undoing.

The bitter kingdom is the final book in an epic series, one that took on the ambitious task of raising up a heroine of awe inspiring power and courage, as well as attempting to change the course of generations of hate and mistrust.  Overall Carson delivers a grand finale that ticks all the boxes, though at times it did feel as though the pacing was a little off - although to be fair that could have been because I was interrupted quite a few times while I was reading the second half of the novel and those interruptions often happened before or after something jaw droppingly surprising happened.

This series has been a new epic series for teenagers and adults a like and to a certain extent it reminds me of early Tamora Pierce - mainly in the sense that it is a very human story on a sweeping scale, one with strong female characters (and male characters), and a subtle weaving through of magic and destiny.  Elisa and her story are very genuine and at times I really connected with the characters because of how well they are drawn on the paper.  I sincerely hope that Carson will continue to write more stories, though not necessarily in Elisa's world as this story feels like it is now completed and settled.  While this series will appeal to girls because of the strong female characters and the interwoven stories of human connection, boys who don't enjoy that kind of thing will hopefully connect with the battle scenes and subplots of deception.

If you like this book then try:
  • The girl of fire and thorns by Rae Carson
  • The crown of embers by Rae Carson
  • Alanna the first adventure by Tamora Pierce
  • Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix
  • Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • The blue sword by Robin McKinley
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Crown duel by Sherwood Smith
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  • Daughter of smoke and bone by Laini Taylor
  • Winter of fire by Sherryl Jordan

Reviewed by Brilla

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