Title: The Bitter Kingdom
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year: harper Collins 8/26/14
Length: 448 Pages
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #3
In the deeply satisfying conclusion to the bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen Elisa travels 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. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy.
This finale of the trilogy gives us the story in 4 parts – each of them showing us a different stage in the end game here of freedom and happiness. Elisa has the world on her shoulders – she’s got no choice but to try to find the answers to everyone’s questions – what she’s supposed to accomplish, how to make her land safe, how to be with the people she loves and how to secure a future for the world. So much for a seventeen year old girl to accomplish right?
Throughout this 4 part journey we are taken across a variety of lands, learning to trust people that she’s not 100% sold on, and showing others that they have to question what they have known all their lives if they want to take risks and be successful.
What our author does a great job of here is weaving in existing characters to the plot while introducing new ones that really make a strong impact in unexpected ways. Elisa finds herself being forced into considering marriage for the best intentions of Joya D’Arena yet she doesn’t really want that and everyone that comes to her has their own motivation. She’s got her eye on someone else yet she’s afraid to admit it. Then there’s the fact that she’s still being undermined at every turn from all of the people who were in place before Alejandro died. They feel entitled and will be treasonous if it means that they get more power.
That leads to the journey that we go on with them. Elisa sets plans in motions, trying to learn more about her power in the Godstone, trying to find the zafira which powers all the animagi with their stones, and i think that what we learn here is that when you rely on something so much, you forget that you really are powerful in yourself.
The remaining sections in this story takes us across lands where treaties are formed amongst Elisa’s sister Alodia and Cosme – they prove to be more valuable yet potentially less trusting than we thought. The Inviernos have more secrets than we knew about – and their heritage starts to play an even bigger role in this story. We learn to rely on one of their own for both knowledge and help – friendship and trust.
So all in all, where we are left at the end of this final installment is a place where we have hope – yet we are mourning because some of the most important and key places throughout the series are no longer with us. While Elisa was successful in some of her endeavors, she has found herself quite unsuccessful in others and in a place where she never expected herself to be. What the future holds is a big question that we’ll never get answered. Enjoy!