Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Bitter Kingdom Review: Eliza

I am a fugitive.
My country is on the brink of civil war.
Even my own men have orders to kill me on sight.

The Invieros have also taken Hector.
They intend to lure me to them.
They intend to kill me, and then my country.

I must save Hector.
I must stop the enemy.
I must save my country.

I am the Champion.
And I will not fail.
I am Queen Lucero-Eliza né Riqueza de Vega.
Hi guys! Today, I have the pleasure of being Eliza...

Book: The Bitter Kingdom
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Girl of Fire and Thorns
Standing: Book 3 (final)
Setting: Invierne, Joya d'Arena, Basajuan. Basically everywhere in Rae Carson's fictional land!
POV: first person, by Eliza
Genre: YA fantasy

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "But this is not about me. Our actions will not be remembered because of which blundering, disposable ruler we put on the throne. They will be remembered because they turned the hinge of history and determined whether or not the world would have peace."
Rating: 5 Stars!

At long last, I have finally finished The Girl of Fire and Thorns series. And may I start crying and bawling my eyes out, but not because it was sad. It's because I officially have re-entered the realm of book hangovers.

Eliza. Where to start? The last book left us off in a mess: her country is being torn apart from the inside out, and Hector was kidnapped by the Inviernos. It sets up the obstacles that she must overcome for this book, and it was beautifully done. Three main obstacles, which divides the book up appropriately.

Eliza's final character here really shows how much she's grown from the first book. It's not just a mental transformation, but also a physical transformation. Gone is the helpless girl who wanted, but was unable, to help. Instead, we have a strong and courageous young woman, not afraid to take matters into her own hands, willing to leap into the centre of danger to face down her enemies. Her decisions are quick and logical, and are made from both her heart as well as from a Queen's perspective. She has her kingdom's best interests, and will do anything to save it.

The characters I really liked in this book were Storm and Belén. They are awesome. Storm, because we finally get to see him in a trusting light, someone who is in the same boat as Eliza and her Godstone. He makes a strong companion, and though there are a few bumps in others trusting him, he ultimately proves himself. As for Belén, I've mostly liked him since the beginning of the series. His character goes through a few tumbles, but I love how he was able to rise above it and prove his worth. And how he acts towards Mara? Cute. They are absolutely cute.

In Girl of Fire and Thorns, we got to see the desert. Then in The Crown of Embers, we were introduced to the seas of the world. And now, in this book, we plunged into the icy conditions of the northern mountains that make up Invierne. I loved how we got to explore all the main conditions of the book's world. The setting changes book to book, and I particularly enjoyed the journeying aspect to it. It's not a stationary book, where all the characters stay in one play bickering. They're always moving, getting things done, facing new challenges, and being active participants. Everyone has to bring their A-game; you have to move on or get left behind, both physically and mentally.

If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. Tons of daring missions and challenges, lives always put on the line. It's a journey, it's a battle, it's everything in a good fantasy book. Eliza's growth through all the books is phenomenal, and I really wish I could change as much as she did. She's not your average Queen; she's a champion. And like all champions, she prevails.

Review on The Girl of Fire and Thorns is here, and The Crown of Embers is here.

And the rest will be spoilery...




THE ENDING. Eliza became Empress. She controls Basajuan and Orovalle, plus has created a peace treaty with Invierne. How's that for accomplished? She now controls the Joyan Empire. I never saw that coming. But I am glad it happened. Because Eliza is now so very powerful, more powerful than I'd ever image she'd become!

Let's discuss Eliza's "true" service to God: uncovering the oasis. I'll admit, I was a little confused by it. Why suddenly drop this in? It seemed so random. But when you think about it, I agree with what Hector says: that means that becoming the strong and powerful queen Eliza is was never God's intention for her. She did all for herself. The only service God wanted her to do was simply to unearth the oasis. The entire time, Eliza thought she was becoming a queen and battling Inviero because she thought God wanted her to do it. That it was God's will that she undertake those tasks. But no. Eliza accomplished everything not for God, but for herself. And that is amazing. She proved to herself that she actually never needed God to help her become queen. Her own will was what made her strong, was what led her to become the queen she is, to become the Empress. Just wow. Eliza isn't strong because she has to be; she's strong because she is.

If only I could be just like her. Because to go from weak to powerful and strong, in both title and physicality? Yes. Yes. YES.

If I ever need to rise to the occasion to be a champion (highly unlikely, but let's just say hypothetically), I will for sure be channeling Eliza.

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