The Bitter Kingdom review by R. Mae
The Bitter Kingdom (Girl of Fire and Thorns)
by Rae Carson
Age Range - 12 and up
Genre - Adventure
Five Star Award

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 14
Reviewer's Location - Middleville, Michigan, United States
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Elisa has to save Hector. The Invernos are attacking her allies and friends. It is her responsibility, with the help of her godstone, to save her people. With the help of Storm, Belen the spy, Elisa's best friend Mara, Hector, and a few others, she must turn the Joyan history of being filthy liars into honor. Yet still, she has no clue of what she is meant to do with her powers from above. Will it kill her like it killed all the bearers before? Elisa has so many questions, but she is desperate to be a good queen. She will not let anything stop her.


Bitter Kingdom was a faultless, magical finale to the Fire and Thorns Trilogy.

The Plot:

One thing that I really enjoyed about the other two books was the strong characters and the realistic plot. Elisa was a queen who felt responsible for her people and she always knew what she wanted. That really affected the plot. When the book starts, Elisa is trying to reach Hector. Since she loves him, that is one of the reasons why she wants to rescue him, but marriage with Hector will help bring peace to the kingdom. Elisa's character has to go through all these struggles to save her people. There were some major twists in the story that I never would have seen coming. I won't tell you the details, but let's just say that you can never truly know God.

The Characters:

I loved Elisa. She is so unique and delightful. She has a good sense of morals and is therefore very enjoyable. The romance between her and Hector was believable, not over done. It was actually really good. Storm turned out to be heroic and interesting. As devastated as I was when some people were killed, it worked out better for the plot and characters that way. I think Rae Carson is really good at killing her characters. I admire that. It made the book even more original. Mara still eludes me. There was a moment when Elisa cornered Cosme and Alodia into a contract of fealty, both of whom are very hard to outwit. For a moment I was upset, but Rae Carson smoothed easily over the scene and brought the toughness back into both of the Queens.

The Setting:

All three of the books had different settings. Separate kingdoms, land types. The desert, the mountains, and in this book the mines. They added a little flair to the scenery and made for good bonding between our main characters. It was also effective for the plot. If Rae Carson would have just continued on with her characters trekking through the snow I would have become very bored. Instead she leads her characters to a place they feel uncomfortable and excited.

The Standout:

Her name was Waterfall. You might guess girly. I say not. She lead our characters through the mines. She was coy, brave and determined. She was my absolute favorite part of the story, along with Red Sparkle Stone. Red was a slave who Elisa, in a way,  accidently buys. She ends up being a priceless addition to the team. She also added a little humor into this otherwise serious book. That is the one thing I would have enjoyed more of. Most of the humor in the book felt stiff and unnatural. It would have made the book almost perfect if I would have been able to laugh a little more. So I liked Waterfall and Red. They are completely opposite. The latter trusting and innocent. The first, cautious, coy and independent.  I loved both of these girls and I think they really made the book better.

The Moral:

What are you willing to give up for someone you don't even know? Elisa was such a great queen because she really felt responsible for her people. During the story she thought about giving up. She could have run away and lived with Hector. But she wouldn't, because she had a responsibility and she wasn't going to be a quitter. That's a good moral to me. Now, the story does imply that Elisa and Hector did more than make out, but Rae doesn't give you all the gross details. Elisa and Hector were married. Also, swearing is not really present in this book. The characters had other ways to express themselves. It was very impressive. 

Content Rating:

Content rating - some mature content

Explain your content rating: 

There was kissing and a little gore.




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