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4.7 out of 5 stars13
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 September 2013
17 year old sorcerer queen Elisa is in a desperate situation, with her country on the brink of civil war and the man she loves having been captured by Inviernos, in order to get her to willingly go to the gate of her enemy. With her friends Storm, Mara and Belen they chase after Hector, hoping to rescue him before they enter Invierne. At the same time Hector is struggling to stay alive in the freezing temperatures while trying to slow down his captors. With both her own people and Inviernos out to kill or use her, will Elisa be able to survive her destiny as the bearer of the Godstone and marry the man she loves, but with Hector not even knowing they are engaged, does Hector want to be with her after she deceived him at the Zafira?

The Bitter Kingdom is the incredible final book in the Fire and Thorns trilogy as it is non-stop action, a romance to die for; incredible characters and world building so realistic you feel like you are actually there. I did feel The Bitter Kingdom could have even been turned into two books with the amount of things that happen in this book. This led to some things being rushed especially the ending as it happened to quickly; also I felt Carson focused too much on the group travelling and too little on when they actually got to their destinations. This book could have been a bit less predictable as I felt there were no real shocks like there was in Fire and Thorns when Humberto died, I thought Carson was brave to do something that unexpected in her first book and I was hoping for something more astonishing in this book.

I love how much Elisa has grown as a person over this series from the timid, shy person who comfort ate and was kept hidden from her destiny, to a strong and confident leader, who makes mistakes but learns from them. Hector is the perfect leading male and I love that we get his point of view in this book as we get to see how loyal, brave and honourable he is, and how much of a perfect match he is for Elisa as, while she is queen, it is a truly equal relationship with them both relying on each other. What I love about their romance in this book is that while there is sexual tension between them there are also simple things like what they say and do, that show that they truly are meant for each other. I really like all the people in this book, good, bad and neutral as the characters are well written and you can understand their motives, but my favourite character is Mara as she is one of the few people who does not want anything from Elisa which makes her a perfect best friend.

I love this series and I am not sure I am willing to say good bye to this world as, while Elisa's story is over, I feel like there is more to discover. I would recommend The Bitter Kingdom to people who have enjoyed the rest of the series and I would recommend the Fire and Thorns trilogy to everyone who likes fantasy novels.
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on 4 December 2013
This is the third, and final, book in one of my favourite series this year. I only came across it when, after finishing Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, the first book popped up in my Amazon recommendations. I was having serious withdrawals from Siege and Storm and needed another fantasy book, so I downloaded The Girl of Fire and Thorns to my kindle app. I loved it so much and immediately downloaded the second book, The Crown of Embers. This also had me fangirling so hard so I tried to download The Bitter Kingdom only to find out it didn't release for another month! After and excruciating month of waiting I bought the book and dove in head first.

I've waited a week since finishing this book to write a review and yet I still don't really know what to think. I enjoyed it certainly, but it was not the ending I was expecting. To be honest I have no idea what I was actually expecting it just wasn't this. The ending, for me, was far too neat. It was all wrapped up in a pretty bow and I'm not really a fan of that.

However the book as a whole was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down and finished it within two days. There weren't any major characters in this book that were not present in the previous book. However there wasn't any further character development over the previous book either. The characters did not have any growth over the course of this book whatsoever. However it can probably be argued that all necessary character growth had had happened in The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers.

There was also no development in the romance department either. We knew all of the details of the romances in this book from earlier on in the series with nothing new being added in this book.

As I write this review I think I'm starting to realise why I did not love this book. It seemed as though it was simply a carry on from The Crown of Embers, and not in the way a third book following a second should be. It simply felt like the second and third book had been one book and was simply split down the middle. I personally prefer books that are distinctive from one another.

The pacing in the book was very fast paced and led to me being unable to put the book down. I was kept on the edge of my seat as I wondered whether Elisa and the others would be able to get themselves out of each terrible situation they found themselves in.

While I'm not sure whether I would recommend this book, I would definitely recommend the series as a whole for fans of fantasy and adventure.
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on 26 January 2016
From beginning to end, this series has been amazing and I’ve loved every page of Elisa’s journey. The Bitter Kingdom brought about a spectacular conclusion to the trilogy and I can’t wait to see what else Rae Carson will throw at us with her next book. She is definitely an author to watch out for.

With her country on the brink of civil war, and her councillors conspiring against, Elisa is forced to flee her own city and head into the realms of the enemy. For they have stolen the man she loves, and Elisa will sacrifice everything she is to get her beloved Hector back, for only with him at her side can she have any hope of saving both her country and her crown.

But Elisa is more than she seems, she is Gods chosen champion. Blessed with a Godstone imbedded in her navel, she is tasked to carry out a sacred duty that comes before all else, she only hopes that by ending the war, her task will be complete. But God, it seems, has other plans…

I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a trilogy quite so much. Elisa’s journey has been truly enrapturing. Through the series we have seen her evolve from an uncertain bride to a rebellious Queen. Facing the hardships of war, death and destruction, she has conquered her fears and at last emerged triumphant. A truly remarkable heroine.

However all of the characters are unique and contribute to the story in some big way. Hector, Storm, Mara, they all deserve an honourable mention. These characters made me laugh, made my heart ache and now the book is finished, I almost feel like I’ve said goodbye to very dear friends. The characters played a huge huge part in making this book awesome for me and I’m glad most of them got happy endings.

In regards to the romance, I thought the scenes between Hector and Elisa were very well done. Throughout the three books their relationship bloomed slowly, based on a foundation of trust, loyalty and the kind of connection that can only be formed from the trials and suffering these two faced together. They make an excellent pair and after everything they’ve been through, I feel like they truly deserve each other.

In terms of plot, this story never has a dull moment. Moving from one catastrophe to the next, the characters are thrown into deadly situations which not everyone emerges from. A lot of the story is told while the characters are travelling, and the sense of underlying urgency in the beginning kept me turning pages long after I should have been asleep. A really gripping read.

So overall, I give this book - and the trilogy as a whole, 5 stars! This is definitely a series that will forever have a place on my bookshelves. A brilliant piece of YA fantasy. In you haven't already, I wholly recommend you pick up the first book, A Girl of Fire and Thorns.
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on 4 March 2014
Caroline for [...]

Compared to some of the books on my shelf, five months isn’t such a long time for one of my preorders to languish on my shelf. Never the less, I am so MAD at myself for not reading this book sooner. I love this series and I have no excuses, NONE.

At over 400 pages, The Bitter Kingdom was a substantial final instalment to a wonderful fantasy series. I loved how the story was allowed to play out at a natural pace, no corners were cut, no plot line was rushed or unexplored, the world building just as detailed and sumptuous, and the relationships as messy and realistic as the previous two instalments, And yet, despite it’s size the pages just flew by and it was over far to soon.

I simply didn’t want the series to end and I finished The Bitter Kingdom with the desire to grab The Girl Of Fire And Thorns off of my shelf and read the trilogy back to back.

As with the previous two instalments, I was most impressed with the character development, particularly Elisa who continued her journey a from self conscious girl, to blossoming young woman to become a confident woman, a powerful sorceress and a commanding monarch.

The romance *sighs* the romance was everything I had hoped for since book one. I am a very happy bookworm.

Verdict: A Fitting end to a fabulous fantasy series
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on 2 December 2013
Great trilogy with great characters. The storyline in the third book was stronger than in the middle book, which seemed to spend quite some time developing the angst of the heroine, Elise. The third book felt more like the first, with some great action and interesting and varied characters, plus the strong love story. Looking forward to more from Rae Carson.
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on 31 December 2013
It's 4.30am and I've just completed the trilogy. Pure pleasure to read, would definitely read other books by the author.
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on 1 July 2015
This is the BEST series I have read for quite a while! I'm officially putting Rae Carson up there with my other favourites, Kristen Ashley and Connie Suttle. I'm going to say nothing (no spoilers here) except this author has the most incredible imagination. The world she's created is so complete and detailed and you are enthralled by its characters from the first word. I can't wait for more from this author.
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on 1 May 2015
I great fantasy novel, with a wonderful heroine and swoon worth hero. I love this trilogy. Rae Carson is an incredible story teller.
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on 20 February 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy, likeable characters and a less than perfect heroine make for an interesting and enjoyable story.
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on 16 November 2014
I enjoyed all the books written by Rae Carson. The pace is fast and characters form throughout each book. A very good read!
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