Mundie Moms

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson / Book Review / Flashback Friday #35

By: Rae Carson
Published by: Harper Collins
Released On: August 27th, 2013
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #3

Rating: 5 Stars - I Loved It!
Source: purchased booksAdd it to Goodreads

The champion must not waver.
The champion must not fear.
The gate of darkness closes.

Elisa is a fugitive.

Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa né Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy's kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.

But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for.

Even of those who hate her most.

WARNING, SPOILERS are in this review!

Rae Carson wastes no time, and dives right back into Elisa's story with The Bitter Kingdom. This book picks up right where The Crown of Embers left off. This time around, I love that we get the story from both Elisa and Hector's points of views. This allows readers to see what's going on, on both sides of the story. The Crown of Embers about killed me, as did the beginning of this book. I swear I can hear Rae Carson doing the evil author laugh, all authors have when they know they're toying with their readers emotions. 

I know that the characters need opposition to grow, and wow do the characters in this series have that in this book. There is a lot that happens through out this book. Elisa has grown tremendously throughout the series, but especially through out this book. She has become a fierce fighter for her people. She sacrifices herself, and does what she thinks is right, even if her choices are picking lesser of the two evils. Nothing is fair or straight forward in war, and that's evident now. 

I found it interesting that while Elisa remains strong through out the book, she does start to question things. I felt as though her questioning of things challenged her, and forced her to grow stronger in her convictions. It allowed her to think outside the box and see things differently than she had before. Nothing is laid out for her. She's discovering her answers along the way. She has to make her own choices. I like that while she does make her own choices, she also seeks advice from her trusted friends. 

I have loved watching Elisa grow and become this incredibly fierce, and strong women. She knows herself, and her wants. She's not afraid to go after what she wants (Hector *cough, cough*), nor is she afraid to ask for help, and rely on her friends when she needs it. 

One of my favorite lines from the book is from page 428 - "I hope so. But I meant me. I'm beautiful to me." 

I felt like that is one of the most powerful lines in the book. It sums up Elisa's growth, it sums up the women she has become, and whom she is now. She's secure and happy with whom she is, and that's such a crucial thing. She doesn't need anyone else's acceptance of whom she is, except for from herself. 
She has definitely grown into a strong, fierce, unwavering leader. I admire her for her strength and determination. 

Though she's proven herself many times, and has risked her life to save her companions, I may have admired her a little bit more when she admitted she needed Hector to save her, when something happened to her. Hector and Elisa have something unique, and I have loved how they've always respected the other's individual strength, and whom they are individually.

Elisa and Hector are a match made in YA book heaven. Seriously, can they be any more perfect for each other?! No, they can't. I love how they get each other. I love their love and support for each other. Most importantly, I love how they've always supported each other for who they are. They've never forced the other to be anyone other than who they are. I love their stolen moments together, and those scenes.... *sigh*. I love that we finally get a wedding! I love that it was Elisa who asked him. I love that she gave him the choice. I also admired him for thinking it through. As she told him, it takes a strong man to say yes to someone of her power. 

The characters in this book/series are great. Rae Carson does such a wonderful job at creating characters that are more than just supporting characters, who fizzle away after the story is gone. She creates strong characters who support the story, and are very much apart of the story as Elisa and Hector are. I love her blend of action, romance, and the mythology/lore that is at the heart of the story. Readers have learned about Elisa's powers along side Elisa, and I really liked that.

I can't believe it's over! I have loved reading this series, especially back to back. It's one of my all time favorite series. I loved this series, and I really enjoyed this book. I have to say, that wedding may make this my favorite book from the series. Read my 5 star review for The Crown of Embers, here. You can find out more about each book in her series via our recent #ReadingRae Read Along posts.

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson / Book Review / Flashback Friday #34

Happy Friday! It's baacckk! With our never ending TBR plies, and so many great books that have previously been released, we're bringing back our Flashback Friday posts. Flashback Friday posts will feature reviews or book spotlights on books that have previously been released, prior to this year. 

By: Rae Carson
Published by: Harper Collins
Released On: September 18th, 2012
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #2
Rating: 5 stars - I LOVED It!
Source: arc from publisher / purchased book
Add it to Goodreads

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.

Elisa is a hero.

She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

Oh my word! Rae Carson what have you done!?! This book..... I'm so glad I had The Bitter Kingdom to dive right into after reading this one! I knew what to except, but I wasn't excepting that ending! Oh my heart! I love this series! Rae Caron's writing is addicting! I can never get enough of it. With this series, I love that Rae wrote each book, so that the as soon as you're done with one book, you can pick up the next one and immediately jump right back into the story where the previous book left off. 

This is one of my favorite sequels. Instead of having her character revert, like often times I feel happens in sequels, Carson's characters flourished and grew into the characters I had hoped they would be and then some. I loved the direction this story took. I loved seeing the characters growth. I loved the romance, the friendships, and even the shocking twists. Loyalty is at it's finest in this book. I love Hector, Mara, and Belen. Yeah, I know. I never thought I'd say that about Belen. I also really like Hector's brother Felix, and learning more about Hector. I loved this book!

I love the woman, and leader Elisa has grown into! She's taking charge and leading the way, and I love it! Throughout the entire book, Elisa's life is in danger. There are few within her court that she can truly count on.  I felt that she really learned to rely on herself, something she hadn't really done before. Having said that, she also learns to trust a few closest to her as well. She has a lot going on. There's unrest throughout her kingdom, it's nearing time for her to choose a husband, and then there's the matter of following her heart and doing what's right.

Along with Hector, I love the relationships Elisa has with those closest to her. Instead of trying to force Elisa to be one way, they stand beside her, and support her for who she is. I have really come to love Elisa. She is growing into a strong, resilient Queen who's learning how to rely on herself, and those whom make up her inner circle. I love that she goes against the norm, and takes matters into her own hands. Not only that, she's become good at playing games with those of her own court who seek to play games against her. 

Mixed into the danger, deceit, and shocking discoveries, is the romance. FINALLY! I swear Elisa and Hector just might be the two most stubborn people in this entire series. Right now, I'm so glad Elisa is even more stubborn than Hector, because I'm emotionally torn between crying and cheering with all that happens between them in this book.  I love the trust Elisa and Hector have between each other, and their chemistry. I just seriously want to shove the two of them together, and let them make out, and get it out of their system. Okay, really I wish things weren't so complicated and they could just openly admit their feelings for one another, and ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. However, this is a Rae Carson book, and I know that nothing will be that simple. 

Talk about plot twists, betrayal, and trying to get to bottom of all that's going on. I love the direction this book is going in. One of the things I love about this series is how unpredictable the storyline is. Like Elisa, I have no idea who's behind all that's going on, though I have my suspicions. I have a feeling that once the betrayer is figured out, it's not going to be that much of a shocker. This is a fantastic sequel! I highly recommend picking it up! 

You can find out more about each book in her series via our recent #ReadingRae Read Along posts.