Bitter Kingdom picks up right where Crown of Embers left off. Hector has been taken to Invierno and Elisa is determined to get him back. She and her companions travel across the world learning more about themselves and what is going on. Invierno is nothing like they anticipated. The Deciregi of the Invierno want Elisa as their living sacrifice to provide power for their magic. Elisa must defeat the Invierno, unite the kingdoms and stop a civil war in her own country.
The Bitter Kingdom ends one of my favorite trilogies. Rae Carson has written such a smart and well-crafted set of books that I really want to recommend them to everyone. These are not your typical teen books, if there is such a thing. They deal with religion and politics and friendship and love and becoming the person you are meant to be. There is heartbreak, but there is also wonder; there is love and loss; mistakes are made and forgiveness given. This is the story of a girl chosen by god who becomes an Empress and brings peace to the world. Elisa is a magnificent character and her growth throughout this series is one of the reasons I love these books. After reading the series a second time, I have to admit I am just as thrilled with these books as I was the first read through. Fabulous series!