The Bitter Kingdom

by Rae Carson
First sentence: “We run.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Others in the series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers
Content: It’s a pretty complex book, full of politics and machinations. But, even with all the fighting and killing and wars (and some brief sexytimes), it’s not a graphic book. It’s in the teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore, but I think a strong younger reader would enjoy it as well.

Queen Elisa is in a terrible predicament. Her country has been taken over by an ursuper, Conde Eduardo. The man she loves and the commander of her Royal Guard has been kidnapped by traitors. And she only has a few friends she can count on. The problem is that she needs to head into Invierne and convince them to stop invading her country. And figure out how to deal with her newfound power from her Godstone.

That doesn’t even begin to touch this complex and fascinating ending to a complex and fascinating trilogy. I’ve always loved the religious element to this story, how God plays a role in Elisa’s life. I really enjoyed the way Carson pitted the Joyans and the Inverinos against each other; both think they are right, and both think the other is wrong. It’s really a book about compromise and understanding, and I loved that.

Elisa has become, for me, one of my favorite heroines. She’s not kick-butt fighter, but rather a savvy, clever, and fascinating character; someone who uses her brain rather than her fighting skills. Carson also gave us Hector’s point of view a few times in this book, something which I appreciated. While I’ve loved seeing Hector from Elisa’s point of view, it was interesting to be inside his head and to know a little more how he works.

I do think that the only thing I would have done differently with this series is wait until they were all out so I could read them one after another. I think the experience of this story would be that much better if I had read it all in one gulp.

One thought on “The Bitter Kingdom

  1. This is such a satisfying end to the trilogy. I loved it so much. The pov of Hector was a nice touch. I liked that it showed how vulnerable and unsure he was as a contrast to her confidence. It unique to see that gender switched like that.


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