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Fulfilling Fantasy: The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Hi there!

Have I told you how much I am loving my winter break? Because I totally am loving it! This morning we went to the local SodaCity Market. It was cold (yay!) but fun as usual!

In addition to fun outings my winter break has been full of blogging! I’m finally getting back on track after about two months of letting the blog lag a little. Normally, when I read a trilogy I either review the books as a whole, or each title individually. Well, I already reviewed the first book in Rae Carson’s trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but to make things a little easier on me, I’m going to combine the last two books, The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom together into one review.

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.The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson 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.

I have to start by saying this fantasy trilogy is wonderful. I adored the first book, and the last two didn’t let me down. Elisa’s world of Joya d’Arena is so full of magic and mystery, I don’t think I could ever get enough of stories set in this world! One of my favorite thing about both The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom is that both books are centered around journeys (both physical and emotional). Because of these journeys we get to see so much more of Joya d’Arena and the surrounding nations. In general, I prefer when stories open up and the author gives us a glimpse of the world our characters live in. Also, journeys, like Elisa’s allow for more adventure and excitement to enter the plot…which of course, is awesome.

Elisa’s, like before, is an inventive character. She has already gone through so much maturation and BitterKingdomgrowth in the first book, that I was afraid Elisa would fall a little flat in the sequels. Elisa, however continues to be as interesting as before: she is strong, vulnerable, afraid of her older sister, wise, frustratingly stubborn, and massively in love with a man who doesn’t always seem to reciprocate her affections. Elisa has a lot going on! And at the start of The Crown of Embers Elisa is forced to stretch herself even further as she now has the weight of a nation on the brink of war on her shoulders.

Also, I have to add that my favorite character by far is Storm, the enemy defector. He is completely sassy, suspect, grumbly, and all around hilarious. His presence adds just the right amount of sarcasm and intrigue to the already strong story.

And we cannot forget that there is some major, major swoon-worthy romantic tension going on in these second and third books! The back and forth between Elisa and her man (you’ll have to read to find out who…although it’s pretty obvious from the get-go) due to some heavy power and gender issues. But all this pent-up passion makes for amazing romance scenes! I think I swooned a thousand times. Yes. It is true.

So, in the end The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom are a fulfilling final two books to Rae Carson’s trilogy. If you’re a lover of fantasy, whether you’re in high school or older, this trilogy is completely recommended to you! You will not be sorry!

Author: Rae Carson

Publisher: Harper Collins, Recorded Books (September 18, 2012 & August 27, 2013)

Format: audiobook

Length: The Crown of Embers (11 hours and 41 minutes), The Bitter Kingdom (12 hours and 58 minutes)

Narrator(s): Jennifer Ikeda, Luis Moreno (The Bitter Kingdom)

Series: Fire and Thorns trilogy, books 2 and 3

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:  The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns) The Bitter Kingdom (Girl of Fire and Thorns)

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2013 Reading Challenges

Happy 2013 everyone!

This morning I got to sleep until 9 a.m., go for a run, and now we’re about go to the Citrus Bowl to see Georgia get whooped by Nebraska. No, we’re not Nebraska fans, but we are Florida Gator fans and we are not fond of Georgia! If you’re not from the south and college football means nothing to you, I apologize…

But now, let’s talk reading challenges for 2013.

I always think it’s good to have a goal set to encourage and motivate in anything we do. I sign up for races frequently so I don’t get slack with my running for example.  I think it’s a good idea to have reading goals as well.  Why?! Because it’s just fun! So, let’s take a look at the three reading challenges I am participating in this year.

GoodReadsChallenge20131. I am want to redeem myself in the 2013 GoodReads Reading Challenge this year. I have a goal of reading 80 books. I missed the same goal this year by 6 books so I’m going for it again! I hope to exceed my goal and read even more in 2013!

2013audiobookchallenge32. I also plan of being a part of the 2013 YA Audiobook Challenge again this year,  If you’ve read my blog at all you probably know how much I love audiobooks so this one is super-duper easy for me! I’m going to attempt the Head Bang’n level where I have to listen to 36+ audiobooks, and review at least 24 of them. I got this. Thanks to A Book and A Latte for hosting!

2013DAC3. Last year I completed the 2012 Debut Authors Challenge, and although I loved it, I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate again this year.  Well, this morning on my run I decided that YEAH! I AM going to do it again! I look forward to being introduced to some brand new YA and MG authors! Yay for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge! Thanks to Hobbitsies for hosting!