The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
The Skinny: 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.
BFF?: I loved the queen Elisa evolved into by the end of Crown of Embers, so I was expecting her to continue her awesome streak. And really, she did. But in The Bitter Kingdom I sort of saw her reverting to her old self – not so much the whiny “I’m pathetic” girl she was in the first book, but more of the contentious, cautious girl she was when she was in the desert. I think she began to realize the repercussions of her actions and the loyalty of those who follow her. Which, honestly, was a great growing point for her. It wasn’t about being a strong leader anymore; it was about deserving the respect she has gained.
Readability: There were some slower moments, and this really was a traveling book, but they were no less amazing. We did get some alternative POVs with Hector’s voice, which I honestly loved. It was nice seeing him since he and Elisa were split up.
Crush Level: 10!!!!!
I fell MAJOR hard for Hector in The Crown of Embers. The Bitter Kingdom only sealed my love eternally for him. And I’m going to tell you why now. But it’s full of spoilers, so you’ll have to highlight: There are several times when Hector tells Elisa that he’s loyal to her, that he is her subject. And I think Elisa wonders if this is a hard task for him, despite him not complaining. I think as women we think the man has to be above us. We have to be the queen to his king, not the other way around. But then Hector tells Elisa that he is man enough to stand behind her. He doesn’t need to be her equal to feel more manly. He wants her to stand tall on her own. AND. I. JUST. DIED!
So the whole set up in The Crown of Embers is that Hector is kidnapped and Elisa has to rescue him. And that task is literally over in like the 3rd chapter (non-spoiler bc c’mon… you knew she was going to rescue him). But that’s exciting because it sets us up for an even bigger quest to find… well… you’ll have to read!
Learning more about the Godstone
I’ll admit, the whole Godstone thing in this story is still weird. I thought maybe I’d get over it, but yeah… I did not. However, I will say that the lore we get to learn in this one, especially about the Inveirnos, is really interesting. Weird, but interesting.
So many things
I really felt like in every chapter there was a bonus point that made this book all the more special to me. I really want to talk about them, but they’d be huge spoilers. I’m talking LEGENDARY.
Commencement Speech: I tweeted a while ago while reading The Bitter Kingdom “Things just took a cuhraaaaaazy turn” because oh man… they did. But this book was so wonderful. There was action, there was adventure, there was learning and history and… and… and… sigh. I can’t put into words how much I love this series. While I was very sad to see it end, I was very pleased with the final chapter in Elisa’s story. She’s become one of my favorite characters; I’ve loved watching her grow from girl to woman to queen. I’ve loved going with her every step of the way.
If you haven’t read this series now, I encourage you do to so. NOW!
Yearbook Quote: “You know, it’s alright for me to rescue you every now and again.”
Superlatives – Best giant bug since Aragog
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