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 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. I am a little bit envious of those you are being introduced to these books now with the last in the series. They have the privilege of reading the books one after another, which is the way they should be read.