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The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson Book Review


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.

Pages: 448
Source: Publisher

    
Being a children's librarian, and a good one at that, I can't help but occasionally refer to picture books to get a point across. Remember that book your parents used to read to you called Guess How Much I Love You in which daddy bunny and baby bunny eventually discover their love for each other is impossible to fully grasp and therefore quite difficult to put into words? (I'm summarizing quite a bit and it's awfully cute, so LOOK IT UP!) I sympathize with these bunnies.  How can I possibly express my love for this series in terms that will make sense and accurately describe how infinite that love is? 

     The Fire and Thorns series and other similar series (Graceling/The Demon King) are the reason why I'm such a fantasy fan. Rae Carson has created this vivid landscape that's exciting and filled with possibilities because it is literally a figment of imagination but her make-believe world also possesses enough of a resemblance to our own world that the reader can make important connections and understand that Rae Carson is not only telling a story, but presenting a message as well. Sure, the three different kingdoms in her novel don't actually exist, but there are a plethora of countries in our world that differ greatly from one another and have troubles putting aside those differences for the sake of peace. Her world is both fantastical and believable. It's a world you can completely immerse yourself without fear or restrictions of any sort. 

     And then Rae Carson takes a step further and breathes life into the pages of this book by introducing her unforgettable cast of characters. Elisa, the protagonist of this story, has grown so much over the course of this series. She started out as this shy, insecure, and utterly dependent fictional character and grew to be a stunning woman who not only recognized her own strength and determination and inner power, but also her own self-worth and dignity. I think one of the most scary challenges women face today is looking into a mirror and seeing true beauty in themselves and it was really refreshing for an author to address this fear and then show that it can be overcome and that by loving ourselves, we allow others to love us as well. Which inevitably brings us to romance. The best novels are those in which the romance is not the story itself. In both literature and reality, I find that romance should never be the journey, but the reason why that journey was so worth it in the end. It enhances the ride. And Rae Carson does this beautifully. Yes there was romance and yes it was sweet and perfect and messy and complicated and everything it should be, but the romance never subtracts from or overshadows the plot of the book. The reason why Elisa is able to complete the journey and able to come into her own person so beautifully is because Hector was by her side. And that is exactly how it should be. 

    Oh but there are still so many more good things to say! The plot never stops for a minute and I'm always so impressed by an author who can not only start a series, but finish it the way it was meant to be finished. The Bitter Kingdom manages to wrap everything up and answer all those questions and explain all those mysteries and give all those characters closure in their personal stories. Have I mentioned that Rae Carson is such a talented author? I am just so content with everything about this book.

     And I have just blundered my way through this entire review and I'm not even completely sure it all makes sense. In fact, I hope you are more confused than ever and will simply have to start the series yourself...it is the only solution!

I will be sad to see this series go. It has my highest recommendations and my upmost respect. 


Oh hello there! My name is Emily, though some of you may know me as the Bookie Monster. As the name would suggest, I devour books like the Cookie Monster devours cookies. In my spare time, I like to bake cookies (and devour those as well) and dream about taking over the world. As if my book obsession wasn't life consuming enough,

I work in the children's room at my local library and I am currently a sophomore in college majoring in English. It's safe to say I'm a bit of a book fanatic. I discreetly shed a few tears on my eleventh birthday when I did not receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter and I waited seven hours outside in the rain just to get a good seat at the Hunger Games midnight premiere. I'm terrified of blood and Disney movies make me cry (in a good way). My passions include hippos, hugs, and Hans Zimmer…and uh,long walks on the beach. I'm just a normal girl w
ith a slightly abnormal and frightfully expensive obsession. Nice to meet you!


10 comments:

  1. I think what has truly made this series for me is Elisa's transformation. I have ADORED seeing her grow over the past 3 books more than any other character. I'm also sure Hector may be my other favorite... but only because he's pretty dreamy. :)

    Great review- so glad this was a fantastic end to this series!

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    1. I completely agree with you! Elisa just blew my mind the entire third book! And Hector...oh Hector...he's just perfect!

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  2. I have the first book on my kindle and I've been meaning to read it for a while now. This series sounds really interesting and I need to make time for it. Great review! It makes me want to start it ASAP :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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    1. I have so many books on my Nook that I need to read it's not even funny! So I understand...but you should still drop everything and read this series lol

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  3. I actually haven't heard of this series, but it sounds fantastic! I love the sound of the world building, characters and just the concept. I can't wait to check this out! And I love Guess How Much I Love You!!! It was super cute! I'm glad you enjoyed this, Emily! Great review! =)

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

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    1. I love that you understand my picture book reference! Thank you for understanding :)

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  4. Wow, this sounds amazing, I def need to start this series with the good characters and world building

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    1. You definitely have to. This is fantasy at it's best!

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  5. Everyone's reviews for this made me so excited I had to go out and buy the books! I hear the MC is really bad-ass and the world building sounds fantastic!

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    1. She is unbelievably bad-ass! And she's so normal too...I just want to give her a hug...if that was possible...

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Hi! Thank you so much for commenting, I read each and every comment and love reading them :) Also, I'll comment back as soon as I can. Happy Reading!