The Bitter Kingdom
by Rae Carson
Hardcover, 435 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2013 by Greenwillow Books
*Spoiler Alert!!! Don't read this Premise if you haven't read book #2!!*
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.
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I'm so sorry for reviewing this so early!! I found The Bitter Kingdom on Edelweiss... and then I just HAD to read it after that maddening ending (if it could be called that) in The Crown of Embers and this is insanely early to review a book that doesn't come out to August. So, I'm apologizing first.
Now to review. *deep breath*
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!
OMG. Very rarely - maybe once a year - I happen upon one of those books I have to read again immediately upon finishing. For 2013, THIS IS THAT BOOK!! No, that's not right... this book turned the entire series into THAT SERIES. I need to re-read this entire series again from the beginning and how grateful am I that there are Novellas!! I can't walk away from Elisa - not her, her man, her kingdom, her family, her friendships, her prodigy... none of 'em. I can't. I've unwittingly turned into a fan-stalker-dreamer, whatchamaycallit.
If this book had not been broken down into four separate climaxes, I might not have slept or fed the family until I'd finished. I'm grateful for those moments of... "Phew! Got that done!" even while I was simultaneously delighted to see how much remained yet to be read. Everything that I've come to enjoy in this series is present. Each character deepens even further. The pace remains fast as each one arrives at conclusions and moves on to face new challenges.
I highlighted a few (not-telling-where-they're-from) lines on my Nook just to showcase how Rae's writing style is so vivid:
The icy air feels like tiny knife blades as I draw it into my lungs.
We lock gazes. The rest of the world fades away, and without saying a word, we say good-bye.I felt it... the more I read, the more intensely I felt it until I found myself fully committed to Elisa. She's become one of my favorite heroes in lit. Ever. She's so... down-to-earth REAL. She always sees herself as the overweight trying-too-hard person she begins the series as. Her humility is beautiful. When it looks like low self-esteem, it's endearing.
I can't reveal any more details of how awesome this book is without spoiling it, and that just isn't an option. I can share one more thing... Rae responded to my fanatical email (very daring of her) with this wonderful snippet:
Here's a factoid that few people know: My not-serious, working title for the first book was ELISA'S BELLY. Which is ridick, but it helped me to keep in mind that I was subverting genre tropes (ie. the amulet of power) and ought to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. :)Wonderful and purposeful!! Even in the most serious of situations there is this uncanny rawness, this sense of reality-is-awkward. The mention of "belly" in particular just cracks me up in a way that feels real. I mean, every time I try to be serious and deep - those are the moments I trip over my shoelaces or run into a pole. For me, this series grasped reality in a new way while being entirely fantastical.
I love it!
My Rating: 5.5 - All-time fav. A series for my library!! I really want to keep this treasure of a series to myself. I love it on such a personal level. I'm kind of shy to admit how much I love it. Lol.
I write books about teens who must do brave things. I'm originally from California, but I moved to Ohio to marry my husband, who is the smartest and therefore sexiest man I know. We live in Columbus with my teenaged stepsons, who are awesome. My books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. I especially love to write about questions I don't know the answers to.
Two Novellas that go with the Trilogy:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
The Crown of Embers