Monday, August 26, 2013

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson [Joint Review!]

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)5 out of 5 Robots!

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Series: Girl of Fire and Thorns #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release: August 27, 2013
Hardcover: 448 Pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
My Copy: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Julia and Shannon's Thoughts:

1. What was your favorite part?  Least Favorite part?
Julia: My favorite part is that we finally get to see the inside of the enemy's world, have a glimpse at how they live. Storm is one of my favorite characters and his background is fascinating to me. My least favorite part is probably the entire time they were traveling home via the mine. It bored me, for whatever reason. I also wish that the ending wasn't so damn perfect. 

Shannon: That was my favorite part too.  I loved see how the Inviernos lived, what the Free Cities were like and I always kind of dig "traveling" books.  I loved seeing Elisa, Storm, Mara, Belen, Hector and Mula (Red) all work together.  There interactions were probably my favorite part.  My least favorite part was also the same.  I thought the end was clean...way too clean.  When you have such epic events, I expect the cost to be high.  But everything turns out ok at the end.  On one hand, I was relieved but on the other, I also wanted more of an emotional punch.   
2. Who were your favorite characters?
Julia: Storm and Hector and Red! Storm is mysterious and it is hard to tell throughout most of the book whether he is on "our" side or not. But his true colors eventually show. I'm a little upset with the ending that he is given because I feel like he is should have a more bad ass ending. Can't say much else, I guess. Haha. I'm not going to bother explaining why I love Red and Hector. How can you not love Red and Hector?
Shannon: Storm and Red!  Storm was such an interesting character. I loved how different he was and I loved his background.  I also liked that you never knew his true intentions.  And Red!  She was adorable and such a little spitfire.  She really livened the story up!
3. What makes this book unique?  Why should people read it?
Julia: It is epic. Everyone should read it just because I think it is an epic story! The heroine isn't perfect by any means, she is intelligent and plump and makes frustrating decisions sometimes and it is just absolutely endearing.
Shannon: I think the setting is different than most fantasy novels out there.  I loved the "South American" feel instead of a medieval European feel.  I also liked that Elisa wasn't a perfect looking heroine.  She is believable.  It is just such a different feel than all the other fantasy novels I've read.
4. What did you think about this book overall?  Was it a satisfying conclusion?
Julia: I think that this book is entertaining and answered all the questions that I wanted answered for the series. I was put off by the ending though. It ended too neatly, too conveniently. With all of the war and everything that was going on, I just don't see how everyone could be cleanly paired off as they were. I don't know, but I was satisfied for the most part.
Shannon: I really enjoyed this book.  I felt it was a very strong conclusion and it wrapped things up nicely.  It was extremely well paced and "epic" enough for a big ending.  But I do agree that some of the ending was very clean and convenient.  It didn't really diminish my feelings about the book, but I wanted a bit of a punch in the gut because I felt like that was a natural outcome.   
5. What do you think about this series overall?
Julia: Perfect. I will definitely be reading it again. This is a fantasy junkie's dream read.
Shannon: I think this is a great series that deserves a lot more recognition then it gets.  Elisa's character arc is truly impressive as she starts the series as a naive, insecure girl to a strong, cunning woman.  I think the fantasy setting is very unique and different than anything else on the market.  I highly recommend it!

Other books in this series in the order that they should be read:
1. Girl of Fire and Thorns
2. Crown of Embers
3. The Bitter Kingdom

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