Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore [Review]

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)4.5 out of 5 Robots!

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling #3
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release: May 1, 2012
Hardcover: 563 Pages
Publisher: Dial
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)
Shannon's Thoughts:
Bitterblue is a sequel to Graceling and companion novel to Fire.  Bitterblue takes place 8 years after Graceling and is narrated by 18 year old Bitterblue who is now queen of Monsea.  While I didn’t find Bitterblue as exciting as Graceling, I still really enjoyed the story!  Bitterblue is much more intellectual and stoic than Katsa and the book follows suit.  Much of the time Bitterblue is trying to uncover mysteries and inconsistencies from her father’s time of rule and during her own reign. Bitterblue is also coming of age and she finds herself wanting to wake up and see her kingdom and subjects for as they really are.  She doesn’t want to be protected from the past by her advisors, who are steadfast in their unwillingness to discuss it.  I really liked learning more about Leck’s  past and his legacy and how it affect the kingdom.  Bitterblue uncovers some horrible truths and has to learn how to move beyond them.

Cashore employs a ton of characters, plus some returning ones (Yay Po!!).  I really enjoyed the redemption of Giddon, the cantankerous librarian Death (pronouced Deeth), his equally cantankerous cat Lovejoy, and of course, Po (my favorite character from Graceling).

There is a romance between Bitterblue and one of the thieves she meets.  It started out pretty strong, but then he kind of drops from the story only to reemerge at the end.  I would have liked to see more of the thieves and seen more development there because they were fun characters.

The plot is fairly exciting, but occasionally gets bogs down.  If I am being honest, the book is a bit long and not as tightly written as it could be.  There are a lot of plot elements and some come together better than others.  But if you liked Cashore’s other books, then this is a fine addition.  I almost hope she writes a follow up to this story because I am curious how some the side stories play out.  I would recommend reading Graceling before Bitterblue, but I don’t believe it is necessary to read Fire prior.

Books in the Series:
1. Graceling
2. Fire
3. Bitterblue

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