Rae Carson Read-Along: THE BITTER KINGDOM Chapters 1-14 + Giveaway


We’re back…

And we’re starting the last book in the Fire and Thorns series.

This week’s read was for the first fourteen chapters of THE BITTER KINGDOM. And I was worried I might not get the chance to read all fourteen in time for the read along given the holiday weekend. But once I started I couldn’t stop. The pages flew. The chapters flew. And when I reached the end of what I was required to read I had plenty of time to organize my thoughts and write my post.

But of course that’s not what I did. I just had to peek ahead. And while I swore to myself it would be just that one chapter, after reading chapter fifteen there was no way I was able to stop. Not until I absolutely had to in order to write my post. But there is no way I’m going to wait for two more weeks to finish this book and series. No way.

Last week I said that fourteen chapters wouldn’t be enough. And it wasn’t. Neither was twenty-eight.


If you’re only just now learning about the read-along, feel free to check out Week One’s post for more info and my thoughts about the first 11 chapters of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (HERE). And my thoughts on Chapters 12-23 are HERE and Chapters 24-34 are HERE. If you’d like to know what I thought about the first 10 chapters of THE CROWN OF EMBERS, you can find out HERE, Chapters 11-20 HERE and Chapters 21-30 HERE.

And so that you don’t have to look back at earlier posts, to quickly recap…

We are reading all three books in the Fire and Thorns series leading up to the release of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER, which comes out on September 22nd. And let me just tell you it’s every bit as amazing as I’d hoped it would be. I can’t wait until everyone gets the chance to read it. Yay for the wait being almost over!

Anyway… if you’d like to catch up on last week’s posts on the other participating bloggers’ blogs, here’s where you can find them…

Me, My Shelf and I | @MyShelfAndI

Mundie Moms | @MundieMoms

Fictitious Delicious | @FictishDelish

Good Books And Good Wine | @BooksAndWine

The read-along schedule can be found at the bottom of this post. And you can also follow along on Twitter via #ReadingRae.

There’s also a read-along giveaway for a few pre-order copies of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER, so if you’d like to enter for a chance to win, scroll down to the Rafflecopter. (It’s the same Rafflecopter throughout the read-along.)

And now for my thoughts….

The Read-Along: Chapters 1-14

***Spoiler Alert: There are a few general plot spoilers in this post. ***

The first fourteen chapters in THE BITTER KINGDOM are lightning fast. And there is a bit of a surprise – every once in awhile there is a chapter told from Hector’s POV! It’s all sorts of awesome to get a peek at what’s going on with him and to know what he’s thinking, even though it majorly adds to the tension and suspense.

This third and final full-length book in the series starts off with Elisa, Mara, Storm and Belén racing to catch up with Franco, the Inviernos, the traitorous Joyans, and Hector. They’re forced to steal horses if they even hope to catch up, and Elisa hatches a clever plot, using Storm, to aid in their thievery.

We learn from Hector that he’s being guarded by twenty men, that he’s going to try and do everything he can to slow them down, and that he hasn’t revealed anything to them. We also learn that the Inviernos know about something Elisa does not, something that turns out to be pretty important. Something I will not spoil here.

The acquisition of the horses helps to speed up their travels and Elisa and company are definitely gaining on Franco’s group. Elisa discusses an alternate plan with Storm for what will happen if they don’t free Hector, have to enter Intervierne, and their original plan fails.

And she begins to suspect there’s more to the story about the Inviernos’ history. But with time running out for her group to save Hector, she doesn’t get the time to think more about it.

A new member joins their team, one who proves to be quite helpful and loyal and adorable. Elisa starts to – very slowly – see that horses aren’t the vicious, evil creatures she’d thought them to be. She even starts to warm up to her horse just a bit.

And once they’re in the mountains, she and Storm start practicing with their Godstones to see if their quest to find the zafira imbued them with power.

While they’re trying to find ways to defeat Hector’s captors, Hector discovers a way to slow Franco and his men down. And in the process he manages to plant a seed of doubt that might cause a rift that could increase the odds if either he tried to escape or if Elisa tracked him down.

The first fourteen chapters in this final book in the series were totally captivating and action-filled and suspenseful. Every single moment had me wishing for Hector’s safety, fearing for Elisa’s, and worrying about the what will happen in Invierne.

And the ending of chapter fourteen was killer. It was a Hector POV chapter, and what happened at the end of the chapter ensured that I would not wait another moment to continue reading. And I didn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t. Though I am so very tempted to read all the way to the end of this book right now.



Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: THE BITTER KINGDOM (Fire and Thorns #3)
Author: Rae Carson
Release date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 448
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook


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.


About Rae Carson


Author portrait by Michelle Daniel Photography

Rae Carson is the author of the New York Times–bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns series. Her books tend to contain lots of adventure, magic, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. Originally from California, Rae Carson now lives in Arizona with her husband.


Other Books in the Series


Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (Fire and Thorns #1)
Release date: September 20, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook


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.



Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: THE CROWN OF EMBERS (Fire and Thorns #2)
Release date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 416
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook


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.



Add to Goodreads

Title & Series: THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS STORIES (Fire and Thorns #0.5-0.7)
Release date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 272
Formats: Paperback, audio, eBook


A paperback edition of three novellas set within the world of the New York Times bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns series, previously available only digitally: The Shadow Cats, The Shattered Mountain, and The King’s Guard.

The Shadow Cats is told from the perspective of Elisa’s older sister. Discover how their sibling rivalry looks from Alodia’s viewpoint, and find out why Alodia agrees to marry her sister off to King Alejandro of Joya de Vega.

The Shattered Mountain revolves around Elisa’s best friend and handmaiden, Mara. Before she meets Elisa at the rebel camp in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, she suffers her own tragedy. Her village is destroyed and she must lead the few young survivors to safety.

The King’s Guard centers on Hector, Commander of the Royal Guard and Elisa’s true love. Set years before The Girl of Fire and Thorns, it shows us fifteen-year-old Hector as a new recruit. He must prove himself—and he discovers a secret he must keep forever.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES – The Shadow Cats, The King’s Guard, The Shattered Mountain  | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

The Schedule

If you’d like to follow along, here are the dates where you can stop by all the participating blogs.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

  • July 13th | Chapters 1 through 11
  • July 20th | Chapters 12 through 23
  • July 27th | Chapters 24 through 34

The Crown of Embers

  • August 17th | Chapters 1 through 10
  • August 24th | Chapters 11 through 20
  • August 31st | Chapters 21 through 30

The Bitter Kingdom

  • September 7th (today) | Chapters 1 through 14
  • September 14th | Chapters 15 through 28
  • September 21st | Chapters 29 through 42

Walk On Earth a Stranger

  • September 22nd | Release Day Celebration Blast

The Giveaway

I am offering up for giveaway a pre-order copy of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER to THREE (3) winners.

  • Giveaway ends at the conclusion of the read-along
  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • There will be 3 winners
  • Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships
  • Books will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
  • Winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
  • Winners will have 72 hours to respond with their details
  • There are no requirements to like or follow this blog but there are extra entries to follow the author and publisher on social media, to add the Fire and Thorns series and WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER on Goodreads, to leave a comment, to tweet a message, and to follow the other read-along participants on Twitter.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This same giveaway Rafflecopter is included in all read-along posts for convenience.

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