Title: The Bitter Kingdom (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, #3)
Author: Rae Carson
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: August 27th, 2013*
*Fun Fact: MY BIRTHDAY! Which means you should all treat yourselves to this book on my behalf! :)
Goddamn. Rae Carson, you are a genius. A genius among geniuses. If you only promise to write books that are this good in the future, I will raise a pedestal in your honor. No joke.
The Bitter Kingdom is damn near perfect. Hell, it probably is perfect but since I'm too blinded by the perfection that is Hector, I'm unable to call anything else perfect in comparison to him. *swoons*
Top 5 Reasons To Read The Bitter Kingdom. (In case you needed any convincing...which you HOPEFULLY don't because if you do, you are INSANE.)
2. Elisa. I just love this girl. From Book 1 to Book 2, we've seen her grow and change tremendously and it truly seems as if Elisa is at her peak by the end of Crown of Embers but Carson continues to push her, to test her, to see how far she can go and how strong she can become. And I love that. And, best of all, I love that she grows into her own in this novel without the guidance of the people she's always had. Without Hector, without Ximena, without Alejandro or her father or her sister, Elisa finds herself and becomes who she truly is, stripped away of all that. And it's more than a little marvelous to witness.
3. Storm! Honestly, the only other book I've read that features a close friendship between a man and a woman is Through the Ever Night. I absolutely loved the tight friendship between Aria and Roar in that book and I love the bond that forms between Storm and Elisa in this one. It's more subtle and Storm doesn't have the charismatic aura that Roar possesses, but I loved these two just the same, if not more.
4. Mara. Elisa and Mara truly grew to care for one another and become a support system for each other in Crown of Embers and while that continues, it also changes in this installment. One of the most egregious faults with this book probably lay in its subtlety of everything. From the romance to the friendships to growth, nothing is overly emphasized or stressed, rather being touched upon and intricately woven into the plot line. While this worked out perfectly for me, mostly because it felt so much more realistic and the development I wanted between the characters already had such a strong foundation, it might affect other readers a bit more. Doubtful, but it might. On the other hand, though, I truly appreciated the skill with which Carson wrote this piece.
5. THE MINES OF MORIA! YOU SHALL NOT PASS! Seriously, I'm not even kidding, there ARE mines in this book. Admittedly, when I first saw the mention of "mines" and "snow" and "mountain" all I could think about was Lord of the Rings and I was a little worried Carson would try to pull a Tolkien. But, thankfully, she doesn't and the adventure scenes in this are riveting, well-written, and covered with plot-twists. I love that The Bitter Kingdom finally reveals to us the extent of world-building in this realm, its past, its present, and tackles on so much more too. Very lightly, Carson touches upon more religious themes, but mostly she discusses different cultures, diplomacy, and co-existence. Like its predecessor, this novel contains a LOT of politics and political intrigue, full with Megan Whalen Turner-esque twists that will come barreling out of nowhere. And it is so, so good.
If you haven't already figured out, The Bitter Kingdom is not only a must-read, it's a must-pre-order-now-and-make-a-pedestal-for-Rae-Carson-already read. In fact, if there are any qualms I have with this book, it is only that there wasn't nearly as much making-out between Hector and Elisa as I wanted. Granted, even if this whole book was just making-out between Hector and Elisa, it STILL wouldn't be enough, which just goes to show how unbelievably amazing this novel is. Rae Carson, you have my heart. Just don't go breaking it with your next series. Or making it weep for swoon-worthy guys like Hector. Honestly, my heart can only take so much "When will my
THANK YOU Flann for sending this one my way! In case you don't already know, you made my YEAR.