Bitterblue- Kristin Cashore

Written By: Kellie - Jul• 29•12

Synopsis: 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. -Goodreads

Review: It is always sad to start reading the final book in a series that you’ve come to love. You’re excited to see how things come together but at the same time you know that every page you read is a page closer to the end. I had originally planned to start reading Bitterblue as soon as I got home from BEA (there was no one other title that I was willing to wait in line for as long as I did for Bitterblue) but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Bitterblue picks up almost a decade where Graceling left off but not much has changed in the seven kingdoms despite Bitterblue now being Queen. She has a lot to figure out and more obstacles than I could keep track of standing in her way. Despite the beautifully interwoven story line, and I hate to say this, but I wasn’t as riveted by Bitterblue’s story as I was by Katsa and Fire’s (if you haven’t read the other two books yet, go for it. These books all standalone really well even though they are absolutely better together) and I don’t really know why.

Bitterblue as a main character was great and exactly what you’d have expected the young girl in Graceling to become. There are so many things in her past that haunt her but at the same time she is fiercely dedicated to the task of being a great queen and literally nothing else is more important. She has a tendency to be a little childish (or even hurtful) at times, but she’s eighteen. Unlike her predecessors, she has no special ability to fall back on but she still managed to hold her own throughout the story.

One trademark of Kristin Cashore’s books that did follow through to this series was her particular brand of romance. There’s a romantic storyline here, but it never overshadows the personal and political sides of the plot. It plays out exactly how you would expect for a teenager who happens to have way more important things to worry about than a crush. While I love a good whirlwind romance, this is always a really refreshing take on priorities.

Another element that really stood out for me here is how clear the secondary and even tertiary characters are. There are a lot of different people running around Bitterblue’s castle (and even the city) but the people with roles to play in the storyline each held their own beautifully even though there were occasionally things four similar old men with the same back story, and yet you knew who each was.

As I said before, the plot of this novel is multi-layered in so many ways which is great, but I also have to give kudos for a lack of predictability. I would seriously love to sit down with Kristin Cashore one day and pick her brain for a bit as this is clearly an author who knows how to think outside the box.

Overall, Bitterblue ties everything together wonderfully and leaves you feeling hopeful (and maybe a little sad at the same time). There are moments you want to clap your hands together because you’re so excited (but can’t because you’ll drop the book) and moments where you just wish things would move a little faster, but there is no question that you’ll fall in love with this book. I’m sure I’ll be reading it again someday.

Buy the book @Amazon (US) @Amazon (CAN)

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Second Opinions:
@The Book Smugglers
@Jess Hearts Books
@Justin’s Book Blog

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