Series: Graceling Realm,
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers on 2012-05-01
Length: 563 pages
Reviewing eBook from TN R.E.A.D.S.
Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.
But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck's death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck's reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea's past has become shrouded in mystery, and it's only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle - curious, disguised and alone - to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.
Whatever that past holds.
Two thieves, who have sworn only to 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, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart . . .
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore was a fantastic addition to the Graceling Realm. It takes place 9 years after the death of King Leck in Graceling. Bitterblue is queen and her kingdom is still recovering from the devastation brought to it by her father.
I adored this book! I honestly think I liked it the best of all of them and that’s saying a lot. Bitterblue fascinated me. She was just as broken as her kingdom from what her father did. She was burdened with such guilt and confusion. Yet she was strong throughout. She held her ground for what she believed. While I felt at the beginning of the story she was immature and selfish, as the story progressed she became selfless and brave, fighting for kingdom and the truth of what her father wrought.
I LOVED getting to see the other characters come back. Katsa and Po were just as great this time around as the first. I loved them both and I love them even more now! Their love for Bitterblue is as strong as their love for each other. They protect her when they can and are teaching her to be a queen her people can be proud of. I love it!!!
And Giddon…I LOVE him!! He was briefly introduced in Graceling as a contender for Katsa, but once she left the Middluns he was forgotten. He comes back in this book as a member of the Council and I just love him!! Can I be honest that I ship him with Bitterblue? He’s so….sweet that’s the word I’m looking for. He’s gentle with her without taking away her power. He becomes her confidant and friend in the midst of such trouble and the only one she promises to never lie to.
Saf…Saf is a robber from Lienid that Bitterblue meets when she sneaks out of the castle. He’s kind to her, but she doesn’t trust him completely. He’s a graceling, but doesn’t know his grace. He steals but doesn’t explain why. And he seems to not want her to be a spy for the queen. I didn’t entirely trust him either, but his character brought revelation and growth to Bitterblue.
The plot really focuses on Bitterblue’s fight for her kingdom. She learns very early in the book that someone is lying to her, but she doesn’t know who. The lies involve her people, her kingdom, and the devastation her father caused with his lies. Now someone is trying to stop the truth from coming to light. Bitterblue is determined to stop them and find out the truth so that her kingdom can heal. Really the story is about a girl becoming a woman, a queen. She’s coming into her own strength and the author does an amazing job of conveying this.
Overall this is my favorite book of the series! While the other books focused on a strong heroine, there was also a strong romance component. Not so with this book. Bitterblue does have a bit of tryst, but it isn’t the main focus. The main focus is on her and her becoming the queen she is supposed to be. It really is an epic story! The author does a beautiful job of tying all three books of the series together (yep Fire and the Dellians make a brief appearance!). If you enjoy epic fantasy, young adult fiction, this is the book for you.