The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #1, #2 and #3)
Author: Rae Carson
Publication: September 20th 2011, September 18th 2012 and August 27th 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Kindle Edition 448 pages, Kindle Edition 416 pages and Kindle Edition 449 pages
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal
Read: October 2016 and February 2017
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king–a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot is medium paced but it doesn’t really seem like it. There’s a lot of adventure and travel. This book sets up the world which is Catholic/Hispanic and Latinx inspired which is amazing and it also sets up the conflict for the future books. It’s all about magic, religion and so much mystery. I loved getting swept up in this story since it hadn’t happened in a long time. There’s also very little romance which was refreshing for the first book in a YA fantasy series.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This author’s writing style is really simple, but also descriptive and detailed. However, it’s also really intense and powerful. It’s emotionally heavy but the narrator has kind of a dry narrative. In this book, she’s very unsure about everything that’s happening with her but it’s still entertaining and engaging to read.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I feel like this group of characters is going to take over my heart very quickly. There’s so much for me to connect to, not only with the main characters but with the culture and the world in this book. I’m slowly drowning in the depths of these dynamics.
Elisa is a very shy and quiet main character. Usually, main characters in fantasy are tough and ready to take on the world and it was a nice change of pace to see someone much more unsure and lost. She’s been kept in the dark about things pertaining to her and she spends a lot of time trying to get on the same playing field as everyone else which was a very interesting point of view to see. But we learn that she’s really smart and a great strategist. I love how she becomes more confident, honest and strong throughout the book.
There are quite a big number of side characters in this series which tends to happen in high fantasy. Each one is complex and interesting on their own and kept me guessing and wondering how they were going to shift the plot. I’m a shipper so I like to mention the romance but it’s very unclear in this first book. I know there is one because of what I’ve heard people talk about from this series but there’s practically nothing in this book.
The Crown of Embers
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.
Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I am falling in love with this series, really and truly. This book is full of adventure and travel (again). There’s much more information on the world and the background of it, like how it was created and what led to the setting we see here. It deals with magic, religion, action, drama, politics, war and death. And just to sweeten things up a bit, we have a bit more romance in this one haha.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is descriptive and detailed. It’s simple but at the same time, really powerful and intense. There’s a lot of emotion that pours out of the page through the writing style. It’s medium paced but intricate and entertaining, I could’ve read this book in one sitting honestly. There’s some drama in here but it’s such an enjoyable read.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I’m so obsessed guys! I am officially in love with every single character in this series. They all have a place in my heart, they are my babies and I will protect them with my life!
Elisa astounds me. I loved her character development in the first book, but I’m also super glad that it wasn’t that she had an “easy fix” to the personality she had. She was still unsure and worried about the things happening around her but she’s determined to be the best Queen she can possibly be to this kingdom she now has control of. She’s defiant and selfless. She’s a really strong, smart and honest leader and I think she’s a total badass to be quite honest.
The side characters also continue to grow and astound me. They’re each complex and intricate individuals and the relationships they create between them are just as real and powerful. They feel like real people while reading. The romance also makes a more obvious appearance and I loved it! I’m a huge shipper and this romance gave me the most wondrous feels!
The Bitter Kingdom
The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
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.
Plot – 5 out of 5 stars
IT’S SO GOOD, GUYS! This was the epic finale to end all the finales for me. It was action packed, full of even more adventure and more travel. We see even more of the world and it continues to astound me how big this creation is. There’s politics, magic, religion and so much more romance that just made me ecstatic! There’s a war going on but it’s almost Cold, it deals with stealth and strategies first which was super interesting.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is powerful and intense, it packs an emotional punch and took me through the wrenches haha. It’s detailed, descriptive yet simple. There’s drama, there’s entertainment and everything is intricately woven together. Though it has a medium pace, the writing flies by and the book can be easily finished in one sitting.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! These characters give me life and happiness more than the majority of the characters that I’ve encountered lately. They are all so amazing and beautiful and just so awesome!
Elisa is my Queen! I absolutely adore her. She’s confident and determined. She’s facing upheaval and mutiny within her advisors and she’s going into extreme enemy territory as well. She’s smart and strong and has such a resilient spirit. I liked being able to see much more of her compassionate side in this book. I consider her such a badass that even though that has a “tough only” connotation, it just reminds me of how complex she is as a character. She’s a defiant individual but also in tune with her emotions and her faith. She’s grown so much throughout the series that it’s kind of mind blowing. It makes me so proud of her which sounds kind of weird but that’s the kind of feeling she brings up in me.
Just like the side characters who are complex and intricate individuals. One of my favorite things about this series is the slow build of relationships. From friendships to romances to alliances, every thing is done with care and each one grows exponentially as the stories continue.
This series has officially become one of the favorites of all time. I was continually enamored with every page turned and every word read and I just want to spread the love forever!
I was genuinely surprised with how much I ended up enjoying the first book, it was so good! The plot is expansive. We follow Lucero-Elisa, a young princess from Orovalle who on her sixteenth birthday is married to the King of Joya D’Arena and is thrust into court life and a country in the brink of war. The plot of this book was jam packed with twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and they happened constantly. I went into this thinking it was going to be a regular court style fantasy but it takes it beyond that. We travel beyond the desert and throughout the kingdom and there’s so much more action than I thought there was going to be. Because we have this premise of marrying into royalty and all that comes with that, I expected a much more different story than the one I got. I loved seeing so many unexpected twists within the plot and being able to see much more of the landscape of this world then I was expecting. I also enjoyed all the different aspects that were woven into the world. For example, religion is a huge part of the book. It’s very similar to Catholicism in my opinion, a lot of the customs and ways of worship are similar to that religion. And while it’s a huge part of the story and of the main character’s life as well, I never felt like it was preachy in anyway. I feel like adding a religion to your story, specially in a fantasy setting, might make it seem like you’re trying to spread the teachings of the religion through your book but this one had nothing of the sort and yet it managed to express the importance of this religion for each of the characters and to the story itself. There’s also some magic involving what is called a Godstone and there were some amulets involved and it’s so cool and so interesting! I love how it has its own intention and personality, it’s a whole other entity apart from the magic users, almost divine which goes back to the religion aspect. One of my favorite things about this book is how the “villains” of the story are pale, tall and really thin. It’s always so exciting to me when you have white skinned aggressors and when that is flipped around while history has always been the opposite. It gave so much more dynamic to the story and surprised me when I was first introduced to this race of people, the Inviernos. I felt like the ending went by really fast, but I’m really excited for the possible things to come from this series. I think Elisa is absolutely awesome. She starts out as such a quiet and shy girl. She doesn’t really know what’s she’s been brought into, she’s been kept in the dark about a lot of things throughout her life and it causes trouble for her definitely in the beginning. People try to take advantage of that naivety. However, her character development in this book is extensive and intensive. From beginning to end, she’s constantly growing and maturing and learning about where she’s at in her life. I loved that she was the lead in a fantasy and a princess and married into a higher royalty, but she wasn’t a warrior, she was a strategist. She’s incredibly smart and she uses those smarts to her advantage and that made me love her. She has a plus size body and she grows slowly to accept herself for who she is and to overcome the obstacles brought to her and made slightly more challenging because of her size. She’s amazing! There’s quite a lot of side characters in this book so I’m only going to mention a few things about them. Alejandro really annoyed me. Part of it is the fact that one of my exes is named Alejandro and I hate the name, but the other part is that I think he had a weak character. He was too easily swayed and didn’t have the kind of courage that I feel like he needed to have. There’s another male character named Humberto who just broke my little heart with his sweetness and I can’t really say more about him haha. There’s also two very strong female characters that I loved in this first book: Cosme and Ximena. Both of them kind of teach Elisa about strength and the things that you need to do to move forward and to survive. Cosme was a downright badass and Ximena was kind of like a freaking spy, prepared for anything about to go down. There’s also Rosario, who’s a little prince and he’s the sweetie pie of this book. He brought a smile to my face every he showed up on the page. In the end, I fell in love with this book and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series has in store!
Because of this second book, this is quickly becoming a new favorite series. I am so invested in these characters, it’s kind of ridiculous. The plot is character driven. We follow Elisa, now Queen and after having defeated a terrifying army, troubles continue within her kingdom. With enemies on all sides, she goes on a journey to try to find power and to fulfill her destiny as a Godstone bearer. Like the first book, this one has a lot of traveling and a lot of drama. Page after page of beautiful descriptions and small anecdotes just made the book and the setting much more tangible for me. However, I’ve come to find that this series is mostly about the characters and their personal development. Beyond Elisa, each character is an individual who is important to the plot in some way and their growth is an integral part of the telling of this story. There’s some action and mystery within the plot which was interesting but all the political turmoil going on was much more interesting and engaging for me. There are so many different things happening at the same time and so many different ways of things to go as the story continues and I was incredibly invested in the outcome of all the craziness. There are so many twists and turns and shifts in setting or plans that it’s a constant race to see what’s going to happen next and it’s easy to be engaged and invested in the story. I could’ve read this book in one sitting like I mentioned for the first book because it’s just so good! I loved getting to see much more of the world. There’s no map in this book or the first one, so to be able to have so much traveling through the landscape definitely helped me picture things a lot better than I would’ve otherwise. The kingdom we’re in is really huge and it includes all different kinds of land: desert, oceans, jungles, etc. and the descriptions are so rich that it makes it much easier to be able to picture everything. Also, I really liked that religion plays such an important part of the characters’ lives as well as the plot and yet, I never really feel like I’m supposed to believe this is the only way to believe in something. The ending left me completely and totally heartbroken! I’m still not okay and it made me want to cry and to pick up the third book as soon as possible (spoiler: I did!). Elisa is a downright badass, she just is, but she’s also a flawed character and I love how she challenges the notion that you have to be either or. She’s determined and smart, she works very hard to keep her people safe. She tries to do everything she can to do the best for her kingdom. But she also doesn’t know how to rule, she’s insecure about her decisions sometimes and she also feels like she might be doing things the wrong way. I love her character development, just when I thought she couldn’t grow more, she kept going and going. I hope this trend continues for her. Finally, let’s talk a bit about the side characters. Hector is a character we get to know a bit more in this book. He was in the first book but more of a background character but he shines so brightly in this book! I absolutely love and adore him and I need him to be safe and sound at all times. Mara is also another character we get to know more in this second book. She’s introduced in the first but becomes much closer to our main character in this one and I absolutely love seeing their friendship blossom. Bonus, she’s just a super awesome badass girl and I love it! Lastly, Ximena. Sigh. She’s getting on my nerves. She’s become a huge pain in the butt when it comes to her relationship with Elisa. She’s very controlling and feels like her opinions are more important than Elisa’s when it comes to ruling which not true because you’re not the queen bitch. I’m glad Elisa had that final scene with her because it was needed! I’m so anxious for the last book, I just want all my faves to be safe and sound!
I think this third book will go down as the most satisfying ending to a trilogy of all time for me! It was absolutely amazing and mind blowing! (Please tell me if I’ve said this before). The plot is action packed. We follow Elisa, who must travel into enemy territory to save the man she loves. Along the way, she learns things about herself and her world that could change everything and she has to prepare to take back her throne. Poor girl has so much to do, but good thing she has help! I don’t think I had any concrete ideas on what I wanted this book to be or on how I wanted this book to go but I still feel like this book had everything I could’ve possibly wanted or needed. This book was full of non-stop action and twists and turns. Just when you think things are getting ready to wrap up, something happens that throws a wrench in their plans completely. There are so many precarious situations that the characters find themselves in that kept me engaged and totally on the edge of my seat. One of the things I wasn’t expecting was to have new characters introduced. Considering it’s the last book in the series, I didn’t think there was a chance to introduce a new character specially one to have to build to the standard of growth and community that the other characters have. But let me tell you, Ms. Carson managed to do it! There’s various new characters in this book that end up making a big splash in the plot and they definitely rose to the standard of complexity and growth of the characters that have been around from the beginning. The world the author has established continues to frow and expand which is freaking crazy in my opinion. We travel through snow capped mountains to the land of the Inviernos which was quite an experience. Not only do we see where they live, but we get to go deep into their culture and why they think the way they do and how both cultures and religions interconnect and have similar basis. That was really cool to read about and it makes the protagonist/antagonist relationship much more complex for us to read. Like I mentioned before, there’s so much character development in each book and this one is no different. When you reach the end, the… pride you feel to see this group of characters triumph is amazing. I want to talk a bit about the romance as well. It’s slow and kind of angsty but based on equality and both of them trying to respect the other and the things they love. IT’S BEAUTIFUL OKAY?! Read this book guys. Elisa is now one of my favorite characters of all time. She’s right up there with my babe, Yelena friends. She’s fierce and smart and determined. She’s a badass because she recognizes when she needs help and when she needs to step up and take control of a situation. She realizes her full potential and what her destiny really is all about. Now I’ll mention the side characters one final time. HECTOR IS EVERYTHING. He is my life and love, he has made it to the very small list of book boyfriends that I have because he is just that amazing. He’s caring, compassionate, protective and yet so much more. Mara also became one of my favorites characters in this series because of how great of a friend she is to Elisa. Their relationship is so sweet and genuine and they are so kind to each other that it made me super happy. This ending left me bittersweet, but only because I didn’t want it to end.
Overall, this is one of my new favorite series. Each book just got better and better. The characters grew by leaps and bounds in each and every book and the plot continued to get more exciting and entertaining. The writing style worked really well with the story and I just want everyone to read this series and love it and then tell me how much you love it. Please :). (Don’t tell me if you hate it.)
So that’s it for this post! Thanks for sticking around with me guys. I’m still trying to get my stuff together. This took me a few days to write down but I really wanted to gush about my love for these books with you guys. Let me know what you think of my thoughts and if you’ve read this series. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you guys on my next post!