Friday, August 23, 2013

Guys, I am sooooo excited to be hosting a stop on The Bitter Kingdom Blog Tour, courtesy of the fantastic ladies over at Rockstar Book Tours!  I have loved this series from page one of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and the story has just gotten better with each installment.  On my stop, I have an interview with the woman of the hour herself, author Rae Carson.  But first, a little bit about the final book in this epic trilogy:

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Title: The Bitter Kingdom
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns, book #3
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The epic and deeply satisfying conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy.

You can find my reviews of all the books in this series below, with the exception of The King's Guard, which will post on Sunday:

full-length novels

The Shadow Cats - Alodia's POV
The King's Guard - Hector's POV

the Fire & Thorns series
The Shadow Cats (Fire and Thorns, #0.5)The Shattered Mountain (Fire and Thorns, #0.6)The King's Guard (Fire and Thorns, #0.7)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)

Jen: Welcome to the blog, Rae!  For those who haven’t started the series yet, how would you describe The Fire and Thorns trilogy to them?
Rae: It's like Game of Thrones, with political intrigue, shocking deaths, and lots of bad weather. Except instead of Jon Snow, the hero is more like Ugly Betty.

Jen: Oh, that is a great comparison! You’ve created a very relatable character in Elisa, much like Ugly Betty. She’s self-deprecating and battles her own insecurities as an overweight princess in the beginning but grows to be a very strong and independent ruler. Where did you get your inspiration for this character, and why did you choose to make her so realistic amidst all the other fantasy elements of your novels?
Rae: I was inspired by hundreds of teen girls I worked with as a volunteer. Teen girls can be brutal to themselves in a way that's shocking and heartbreaking. You'll occasionally see the self-loathing girl in fiction, but only if it's an "issue" book about cutting or drugs or whatever. I wanted to validate the existence of the non-cutting, non-drug-taking, non-promiscuous self-loather. She exists, therefore she should be represented in fiction.

Jen: I agree completely...we need more protagonists like this in young adult literature, and not just because certain circumstances warrant a character like that.
       Some authors write out very detailed outlines and others write by the seat of their pants. Which kind of author are you? Has it always been that way?
Rae: I have touchstone moments in my head, a sort of mini-outline, that I write to. But all the filler stuff is very seat-of-my-pantsy. I've tried writing to a detailed outline, and I can do it if I have to, but it's about as fun as sticking pencils in my eyeballs. I love to discover a story as it happens!

Jen: I'm sure this story, in particular, was very fun to discover along the way.  When you started writing this series, did you already know how it would all end and who was going to make it to the finish line?
Rae: Yes, I knew how it would end, and I *almost* knew who would live and who would die. There were a couple of characters I wasn't sure about at first. I don't believe in character murder just for the sake of shock value. Neither do I believe that surviving characters should endure great trials without some kind of loss. So I had to think hard about what I wanted to accomplish, character- and plot-wise, with each death or survival.

Jen: Speaking of, how hard is it for you to kill off a beloved character? You’re so very good at it – some might even say you’re the George R.R. Martin of YA fantasy – and I was wondering if it pained you to do so. And of all those who meet their demise in The Fire and Thorns trilogy, who was the hardest to let go of?
Rae: The hardest death came in book 1. I bet you can guess who! I really liked him, but it was important to let him go. On the other hand, there was a death at the end of The Bitter Kingdom that I spent three books actually looking forward to!

Jen: Aaaah!  I felt the same way while reading...I miss he-who-shall-not-be-named, but his absence was necessary in order for other characters to make their move.  And that character you looked forward to killing?  Assuming we're talking about the same person, I didn't necessarily wish death for them, but I remember wishing some bodily harm to them in book two because of all their meddling.  ;0)
        With the plethora of fantasy novels available to young adults these days, what do you think sets your series apart from the rest?
Rae: It's a golden age for young adult fiction, and the diversity is astounding. I think you can find just about anything!
       When I first started writing, books about teen girls who could fight like men were starting to take off, and I gobbled them up. I guess you could call it a first wave of feminism in young adult fantasy fiction, and it was so refreshing. But a second wave of YA feminism has arrived, and I think my books are part of it. In this wave, young women have lots of different ways to be considered "strong," and not all of them are "acting like a man." Elisa definitely grows in physical power throughout the series, but it's her other qualities—intelligence, determination, love for her people—that make her truly strong.

Jen: Fantasy has really found a following in YA literature, where contemporary and supernatural stories seem to have reigned supreme for so long, and I'm so glad to see so many "strong" female characters. What are some of your favorite fantasy novels or series?
Rae: I love anything by Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, or George R.R. Martin. Some recent fantasy favorites have been Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst and Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers.

Gone GirlJen: Oh, I loved Dark Triumph, but I haven't read any of the others.  Name a novel that you wish you had written yourself, that you could take credit for.
Rae: Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is brilliant. I aspire to write something that thought-provoking and emotionally dense someday.

Jen: I haven't read that one either!  But from the sound of it, I need to.  Since writing/finishing The Fire and Thorns trilogy, how has life changed for you?
Rae: I take way fewer showers now, and I wear mostly yoga pants. I pretend elaborately for a living. In short, my life is awesome.

Jen: Haha, that does sound awesome!  Now that the final book in the series is about to be released to the world, what’s next for you? Can you share any details on your next project?
Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush
Rae: Sure! I'm working on a new trilogy for Greenwillow. It's about a sixteen-year-old girl with the magical ability to find gold, who flees west in 1849 during the California Gold Rush to escape a greedy, dangerous uncle and make a life for herself. The first book is a wagons west story like Little House on the Prairie, except jacked up on meth.

Jen: Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Rae!  I can't wait to read your Gold Rush story...that time period in our history fascinates me!

About the author:

Rae Carson is the award-winning author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy. She was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for Fall 2011 and was a finalist for the Morris, Cybils, and Andre Norton Awards. Her first novel was named to ALA's Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list.

Rae lives in Ohio with her husband, novelist C.C. Finlay, two stepsons, and two very naughty kitties. She is hard at work on her next trilogy.

Find Rae:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

This giveaway is for a signed set of the complete trilogy.  US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure and check out the rest of the tour schedule:

8/19/2013 - Ivy Book Bindings- Guest Post
8/20/2013 - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Interview
8/21/2013 - Refracted Light Reviews- Review
8/22/2013 - A Backwards Story- Review
8/23/2013 - The Starry-Eyed Revue- Interview

8/26/2013 - Candace's Book Blog- Review
8/27/2013 - Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
8/28/2013 - Citrus Reads- Review
8/29/2013 - Hobbitsies- Interview
8/30/2013 - Fiktshun- Guest Post

Thanks for stopping by & happy reading!


  1. thank for write this serie !!! i love hector ... he is hot ... and the story is unique ... thanks for that... ijijij

    almendra in the rafflecopter

  2. I love this series so much!! It's one of my favorite fantasy series ever :)
    Lacey T

  3. I saw these at a local book store and right away I loved the covers there really cool. Then I read the back and I was pulled right in!!!

    ~Simonet H

  4. I met Rae about a month ago, and it was amazing. She's so funny, and I love her reasoning behind her "Ugly Betty" main character. Great interview!

  5. Love this series. Can't wait to see how it ends!

  6. I'm so excited to start this series - I bought the first book a while ago. All of the covers are so gorgeous, too, it's crazy. :)

  7. Can you believe I haven't started this series yet?!?! I have The Girl of Fire and Thorns... Hopefully I can get to it soon!! Hmmm, maybe I'll try the audio... :D

  8. I've been meaning to get into this series along with Game of Thrones. Since they were considered similar, I'm definitely going to have to start soon! Great interview, thanks for the giveaway. :)

  9. I haven't read this series yet, although I've seen it several times and it looks really good. I plan to see you, Rae, along with CJ Redwine next week at Anderson's Bookshop!

  10. Thanks for the interview and the great giveaway I have not read this series but it sounds really goog would love to win Yhanks for the chance

  11. The complete series! Wow! I would love to win. :)
    Thanks for the chance.

  12. Awesome interview. Thanks for the giveaway :) would love to own the entire series because i haven't even started the first book yet.

  13. Beautiful covers! Looks like a great series!

  14. Really loved the first 2 books:) Can't wait to find out what happens next:)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. I haven't read you yet but I must say that I love the colors of your covers - they draw me in :).
    Thank you.

  16. I loved the first 2 books and as sad as I am to see this series end, I can't wait to read what happens : )

  17. this is an awesome giveaway!! I have these books wish listed to get! thanks for the giveaway!!!

  18. I've heard great things about this series. I'm excited to read it. Thanks for the chance to win such an awesome prize!

  19. This is a fabulous giveaway! I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns and I haven't had a chance yet to read The Bitter Kingdom or Crown of Midnight but they are both on my To-Read list!! I LOVED the first one so I'm sure I will adore the others!!

  20. Oh yeah!! I am SO excited about this giveaway!! I am so DYING to read this series!!! It sounds so good:))) Thank you so much for having this amazing giveaway!!! LOVE your series!!!

  21. SO excited for this book! After the cliffhanger of an ending in the last book I NEED to know what happens next!!! :D
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. The fire and Thorns series sounds like a wonderfully suspenseful fantasy. I love the idea of the heroine more like Ugly Betty than your usual heroine type. I haven't seen that show in years but have you ever seen Betty and/or the actress who plays her when she in't being 'Ugly Betty'??? She really is beautiful.

  23. I love your books! :D I can't wait to read the third one!


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