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Mini Reviews: Warrior by Ellen Oh and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

More mini-reviews to whet your appetite! This time, historical action fiction with Warrior by Ellen Oh and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson.

First up, Warrior by Ellen Oh.

Book Synopsis: Kira, demon slayer and outcast for her yellow eyes, is just barely home from protecting her cousin, the Crown Prince, and assisting her uncle and the Iron Army defeat the invaders and protect the throne. Trying to unite the kingdoms, all seems to be going well- until a surprise attack fronted by the Demon Lord kills the King Uncle and throws the Seven Kingdoms into chaos. With the Crown Prince’s right to the throne challenged, Kira must again quest to find the sacred relics of the Dragon Warrior in order to save her homeland- and her family.

My thoughts: I fell in love with Prophecy, the lyrical approach to the story and the immersion to detail Oh gives to her characters. Warrior does not stray from that style- the details of Korean life, the twists and fast pacing make this an engaging read for those who want an adventure story. Kira is still searching for herself, and trying to figure out whether she can be girl and warrior, and that stays very true in the book- her relationships are awkward and she really doesn’t know how to be anything but the fighter and demon slayer, although she is starting to come out of her shell. Other characters are built as well, and back-stories are filled in that tug at heartstrings. I am definitely excited for the next book to come out.

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Next, The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Book Synopsis:  The third and final book in the Girl of Fire and Thorns series, Elisa has braved her powers, sorcery, and winning over a kingdom. Now she must move into the territory of the enemy itself to save her love and her kingdom. Journeying to the lands of Invierne, Elisa hopes to destroy the source of their magic and make a pact for peace while rescuing Hector, her true love. Then off to the Basajuan desert to stop the war effort between kingdoms, and finally to her own Kingdom in order to destroy a traitor and take back her throne. All the while, Elisa must learn the full power of her Godstone, as well as her own power within if they are all to survive.

My thoughts: I have been a huge fan of this series since the beginning- finally a heroine who was less than perfect, smart, cunning, and an actual, normal size! Carson takes her time weaving through all the elements of the story, from rescuing Hector, to meeting up with Elisa’s sister and best friend (both Queens in their own rights), and finally sneaking into Elisa’s kingdom in order to set things to right. I adore the fact that Elisa must save everyone with “her only lasting power- her smarts”- that is something that every reader needs to take to heart. I was more than happy with the Hector/Elisa storyline, even though some readers might get a little antsy at the sexy bits (not a lot of sexy but still there is more than the previous books). There were two things I could have wished for that would have been explained in more detail: the relationship between Elisa and her sister (it’s briefly touched upon when they meet up to fight the war, but with the sister having been a big part of the first book, I wish there was more resolution) and the discussion of how close Elisa’s people and the Invierne are genetically, and how they came to be on that world (again, briefly touched upon, but I want more). I can hope that there will be additional books in this world.