The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Bitter Kingdom is the third and final installment to the Fire and Thorns trilogy and if you have not yet started this one and enjoy a good fantasy series, I definitely recommend you get moving. Just a warning – I am going to do my best to review this without any spoilers but I can’t promise anything.
The novel dives right in to the action. Book two left off with Hector being taken by the Franco to get Elisa to willingly sacrifice herself to the Inviernos. If you have read any of these books you know that Carson isn’t afraid to kill off main characters and because of that I spent all of Part 1 (Ok, really the whole book) worried about what was going to happen.
Carson does a great job of weaving in chapters from Hector’s point of view. They don’t rotate but there is enough there to see what he is going through while Elisa, Storm, Belen, and Mara are closely behind. One of the things that I loved was that even while separated from her, Hector was doing everything he could to protect Elisa from Franco and the Inviernos.
Throughout the series Elisa has clearly grown into a strong woman and leader. She has made mistakes and experienced quite a bit over the span of a year and a half (marriage, kidnapping, war, etc) but it has made her stronger and allowed her to realize she is more than what others expect of her. I loved that she came to realize this and recognized that she isn’t perfect but she has a support system that will help her get through anything.
The characters definitely shine in this one. Storm came through here and I will be honest, there were times where I wasn’t so sure what he was up to but I was glad to see things end up the way they did for him. Belen and Mara were great and definitely integral to the story to help move some things along. The introduction of Mula/Red was also a great addition as she turned out to add another layer to the story. Hector was perfect in my opinion. He truly loves Elisa and still takes his role with the royal guards and protector very seriously. In the end, he is the one that Elisa truly trusts seeing every part of who she is.
Just to include one of my favorite highlights….
Hector bends and presses a kiss to my temple. He wastes precious moments holding his lips there, and then says, “For just in case.”
Overall I thought this series was very well done. It had a lot of action, some wonderful characters that developed throughout the entire series, and it was a great story. I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes any and all of those things along with a little magic and fantasy.
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