Thursday, July 25, 2013
ARC Review: The Bitter Kingdom
Greenwillow Books, 2013
Scheduled to release August 27
Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I liked The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers well enough but I wasn't as passionate about this series as other bloggers had been. Still I hoped to end the series strong so I was pleased to receive an early copy of this conclusion to the trilogy. Well, if you looked at my rating, you will see that I was well-rewarded by taking that chance because this book blew me away! I'm going to share a few non-spoiler points as well as a marked spoiler at the very bottom to hopefully explain how this book won me over.
Though most of the narrative is told from Elisa's perspective, as occurred in the first books, this one also brings in a few chapters narrated from Hector's point of view. I adore dual narration and really loved it here. Because my e-copy showed which chapters he narrated in the index, I could easily access how long it would be until the next entry and looked forward to each and every one. Which is not to say that I don't like Elisa's narration; I just happen to like the variety provided by Hector.
Another plot element I actually liked was the journey-Elisa and her crew have to travel a lot in this book and though that is not ordinarily the kind of story I like, it really pleased me here. Especially exciting was when they were caught in a snowstorm and decide to seek safer passage through mines (it was so Fellowship of the Ring). There was just so much action and it kept me glued to the pages.
But I guess what I liked the most was Elisa's confidence, which has been growing rapidly since her introduction as a shy mousy thing. She knows her rightful place as ruler and that she has the capacity to conceive and execute fantastic daring plans. She can fight, she can love (I promise you Hector fans some good things!), she can strategize-it's amazing! Right after Elisa comes spunky new character Mula, a little girl whose heartbreaking past will be only a dark memory as she gets to embark on an amazingly bright new future.
Overall: An excellent conclusion to this fantasy series. Usually my favorite book in a trilogy is the first but in my opinion, this finale demonstrates such tremendous growth on the part of its characters while also amping up the tension to almost unbearable stakes throughout the course of the novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope you'll be finishing this series!
So near the end Elisa's godstone falls out because she has fulfilled her purpose. First I loved that she didn't die because she had friends to share the burden-so many other Chosen had lived in isolation and couldn't finish but she built those relationships and invested in them and was rewarded. Then second she has to try to face her enemy without that power. But then it turns out she doesn't need it because she is anything but ordinary even without the stone. Oh, I just loved it!