Author: Rae Carson
Published: August 27th, 2013
Series: Fire and Thorns #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
POV: 1st, dual
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss / Publisher
Rating: The Treasure Vault
"The champion must not waver.
The champion must not fear.
The gate of darkness closes.
Elisa is a fugitive.
Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.
Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa née Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy's kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.
But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for.
Even of those who hate her most."
Trekking across the blazing sand and through deadly snow, Elisa is in for one epic journey to save the man she loves, to protect her kingdom from utter destruction, and to fulfill her destiny as a bearer of a Godstone in the final installment of the Fire and Thorns trilogy1. I've been anticipating this novel ever since I finished THE CROWN OF EMBERS, and Rae Carson did not disappoint. Picking up directly where the sequel left off, Carson does not waste a moment in getting Elisa started on her journey. But, Elisa's not going at it alone, and is instead aided by a few old friends (Belen, Mara, Storm) and a few new allies (Mula, Horse2, possibly also Storm). Their journey is dangerous, deadly, and will take them into the heart of a place they fear the most.
Rife with political intrigue, daring altercations, thrilling escapes, and a vibrant cast of characters, THE BITTER KINGDOM is a whirlwind of a story that excites from start to finish. Just when you think you have this story all figured out, the stakes raise as more revelations come to light. Carson's writes each setting vividly, and gives equal care to fleshing out her characters and her overall story. Looking back at where this trilogy started, I'm very impressed regarding Elisa's character growth, and I'm sold on reading all of Carson's future works. If you are not reading this trilogy and you happen to be a fantasy fan, give this trilogy a chance because you're in a for a treat.
Highlights: Action, adventure, risks, and sacrifice, THE BITTER KINGDOM is thrilling. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, rooting for Elisa and worrying for the main cast of characters whenever things started to go badly for them. The inclusion of Hector's1 POV could have been a risky move, but it paid off in the end since it added another layer to his character and to the overall story. Characters, new and old, are carefully developed by Carson. More about Elisa's world and the Inviernos is revealed. In all, this book is wonderful.
Lowlights: The trilogy is over, and I'm sad about that. Rae Carson, why can't you write more Fire and Thorns novels?! *hugs trilogy*
Rating: The Treasure Vault. This book (or really, this series) is a favorite of mine, and is also very worthy of keeping company with the crown jewels. I'd highly recommend this novel to other readers. If I could give this book a palace of it's own, I would. But, I'll just keep it tucked safely away in my treasure vault instead.
1 Um, no pressure. Poor Elisa. She's got a lot to do!
2 Horse is a horse. A very sweet horse. I still think Elisa should have put some effort into a better name, though.