Backlist Review: “The Girl of Fire and Thorns; The Crown of Embers; The Bitter Kingdom”

This isn’t my first attempt at book blogging. I ran The Cheap Reader for a number of years before burning out. I’m dusting off some of my reviews and giving them new life over here.

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. She 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 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.

Summary from Goodreads


Elisa was interesting. I liked that she’s not the typical protagonist. She’s not pretty, she’s not thin, and she prefers taking the backseat so her sister can take on the royal duties. I hated that she was constantly complaining about herself though. It’s really not the end of the world because you don’t look like other girls.  I would have much preferred if she looked the same but just embraced the fact that she’s different. Thankfully she does redeem herself through the story. She goes from being a sulky teenager to a strong leader of an army. What’s not to like about that?

I don’t know why it bothered me so much but I wasn’t thrilled by the fact that I couldn’t place where this story was taking place (or what religion was in the story). I know it’s stupid because I read other fantasy books that take place in other worlds or take place at an unknown location on Earth. Those don’t bother me. I guess it was the fact that this world was pretty similar to ours but just a bit different. It’s like the location was on the tip of my tongue but I couldn’t get it out.

I loved that the book felt a lot like the Graceling realm books. It has just a bit of fantasy to keep the story interesting. The heroine who slowly grows into herself and discovers how strong she really is. She might fall for a guy but she doesn’t need him to be complete. In fact she’s almost stronger without him. Very much like the Graceling books, the political aspect was really interesting but a bit difficult for me to fully grasp. I understood enough to keep me reading but I didn’t understand it well enough to explain it someone.

The bottom line? If you loved the fantasy and politics of the Graceling realm books, you’re sure to enjoy the Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Crown of Embers

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Summary from Goodreads


Wow, Carson really stepped up her game. Elisa is awesome in the last book. She went from being the pudgy princess to a leader of an army. Now she’s the queen! Yes, she’s still a bit unsure of herself but it’s to be expected. She’s only queen because her husband died. Despite all that, she’s doing her best. In a lot of ways she reminds me of Bitterblue. They’re young but they will do the best they can for their people. I loved that she’s no longer a sulky teenager. She doesn’t dwell on the way she looks. She’s in love with a guy but she keeps going on with what needs to be done. She’s smart, strong, and gets things done. What’s not to love about that?

The politics developed beautifully in this book. There’s unrest naturally in the country because they don’t feel like Elisa is the real queen. You’ve got royalty from neighboring areas trying to cut in and do what’s best for them. The Inviernos are trying to take over. It is a lot to take in but it works very well.

And then there’s Hector. Wow oh wow. I definitely fell for him. He’s strong and fiercely loyal. He does what is right without any thought to himself. He really wants what is best for Elisa. All of the scenes with him and Elisa highlight how to do a slow burn romance right. Everything between them felt so natural. I mighthave continually yelled at my book for the two of them to kiss already. I’m never any good at expressing why I like things so I’ll just give you this gem:

“I love you the way a drowning man loves air. And it would destroy me to have you just a little.”

I really appreciated that this book didn’t feel like a rehashing of the first book. It moved the story along but it was a solid story on its own. There were a good amount of twists. I had no idea where we were going with the story and I loved that.

The bottom line? Fantastic. I think I liked this more than the first book and I really enjoyed the first book.

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.

Summary from Goodreads


  • Elisa continues to be strong. Her transformation over the three books has been phenomenal. She goes from being the dowdy princess to a leader of a rebellion to a Queen willing to do anything she can for her country.
  • I’m almost glad that Hector was kidnapped in the last book. It finally made both of them admit their feelings for each other. I loved the fact that she rescues him. She doesn’t sulk that her love is gone. She doesn’t wait for someone else to rescue him first. She goes after him.
  • Hector was fantastic. He never treats Elisa as an inferior (partly because she IS the Queen). He is always respectful, waits for HER to signal what she wants, cares for Elisa as a person, and values her opinions. How can you not swoon over that?
  • There were many, many elements running through the story. The political angle, the ‘war’ against the Inviernos, Elisa’s struggle of wanting to do the best thing for the country and wanting to do the safe thing for her. Thankfully all of those elements didn’t overrun the story.
  • I loved that we got to see more of the Inviernos and their culture. I just wish we would have learned more about them.
  • Mara and Belen’s romance was just as lovely as Elisa and Hector’s. It was a very slow burn romance but you felt how much they wanted each other and cared about each other.

The bottom line? Wonderful conclusion to an excellent series.



2 thoughts on “Backlist Review: “The Girl of Fire and Thorns; The Crown of Embers; The Bitter Kingdom”

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