Thursday, July 11, 2013

ARC Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

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.) 

1. HECTOR! As if there was a better reason to read this book. The Bitter Kingdom has a few glimpses into Hector's mind and what I loved about these were that they were short, concise, and yet carried so much weight in the story. The Bitter Kingdom is not a loud, in-your-face conclusion the way Clockwork Princess is. Quite thankfully, there is no endless drama and breaking of hearts and tears and useless epilogues. Instead, there is a slow, steady, and loyal burn of everything from trust to friendship to romance. The Bitter Kingdom is one of those conclusions to look back upon and smile; one that will induce a warmth throughout your whole body. It is simply so very sweet and true and the strength of the romance in this installment lies not with sexual tension (Carson teased us enough with CoE!), but rather with simple one-line statements that cause your stomach to flip and flutter. Furthermore, Carson doesn't try to additionally build the existing relationship between Hector and Elisa. Instead, what she does is portray them as equals and convey to us the strength of their bond. It's beautiful and will leave you grinning like a complete fan-girl or just sighing softly as you flip through these pages.

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 Prince Charming Hector come?" longing. 

 THANK YOU Flann for sending this one my way! In case you don't already know, you made my YEAR.


  1. Long time no speak... I'm sorry I haven't been around lately. How are you? Anyways, onto The Bitter Kingdom, sad to say I haven't heard of this series *sighs* but its definitely on my radar now. It sounds incredible especially the ending. You don't get many conclusions that actually make you sigh with happiness! Lovely review, Keertana! :)

  2. I agree with EVERYTHING about this review. THANK YOU for encouraging me to read this series. I LOVE IT SO MUCH I CAN'T EVEN STAND IT. These characters and their story is just brilliant. Elisa I've loved since the first page, despite her flaws she has become such a fantastic heroine and Hector just makes me fall to pieces with swoon (that statement doesn't even make sense). I just love how powerful they are separately, but what they become together is magical. They are a couple that I can truly see lasting into the future, because Carson made me believe in them. WONDERFUL review and HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY Birthday to youuuuuuu.

  3. I was totally drawing Lord of the Rings comparisons in this one too Keertana! It was quite the epic journey and I was on the edge of my seat every second. I loved that we got in Hector's head now and then, that was a real treat, and I'm with you on her relationship with Storm. It was so fantastic to see a friendship between them that was sexual-tension free. SO GOOD.

  4. I absolutely loved this too! And obviously Hector is totally swoon-worthy and just perfect. And it all ended even better than I'd expected, although I'd have liked just a slightly longer epilogue. Just to enjoy the characters a tiny bit more.

    Anyway, your birthday is August 27th?! That's Ann Aguirre's birthday too. Can you imagine that? Two of my very favorite people born on the same day. I guess it's a lucky date for me.

  5. OMG! I so need to get that first book. I've been wanting it for so long. Now you have me drooling over this one? Evil blogger. I guess I'll forgive you since it's your b-day and all!

    BTW, Happy Birthday!!

  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I wish you all the best and a lot of amazing books this year ;)

    I have seen and heard of this series but sadly haven't started it yet. It sounds like an amazing story. Honestly I don't have the first book in this series and that's the only thing stopping me from starting this series right now! You made this sound amazing. Great review :)

  7. I need to finish this series! I started reading the first book, but I set it down because I wasn't in the fantasy mood. But it was so vivid and well-written. I pretty much remember everything that happened, and I read it so long ago. So glad the series as a whole is brilliant. Love the review :) (and happy early b-day!)

  8. Okay, wow. Keertana, I probably wouldn't have given this book a second glance because high fantasy has been somewhat letting me down recently, but wow! You're selling this one with your stellar review, girl! Gahh even the romance sounds like it really complements the story. This was just added to my TBR! Fantastic review :)

  9. Soooo jealous of you for being able to read this one already. Love love love this series, and absolutely can't wait to read about Hect- excuse me, Elisa, again.

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  10. This book has been sitting in my "Reading Next" pile for ever. I keep having to push it back to read a review book, but I SWEAR ON ALL THAT IS HOLY, that I'm reading this book before the month is out.

    Then I'll be back to check out your review:)

  11. I haven't picked up this series so I didn't really read your review, Keertana. I think I got the first book while it was really cheap or free on Amazon for Kindle. I guess I should move it up in my pile especially with your 5 stars! I know you don't give those out lightly. :)

  12. Yes, yes, yes to all of this!!! This review is perfect. This book was perfect. This, as a series ending, was perfect. I really don't know what else to say that wouldn't just be reiterating every point you made, because YES.


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