I received this book via My Book Shelf, Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore
Narrator: Xanthe Elbrick
Series: Graceling Realm #4
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers on 2021-01-19
Length: 528 pages
Length: 16 hours and 31 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook, eARC, Hardcover from My Book Shelf, Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2022, 2022 Audiobook Challenge, 2022 Beat the Backlist, COYER 2022
The highly anticipated next book in the New York Times bestselling, award-winning Graceling Realm series, which has sold 1.7 million copies.
For the past five years, Bitterblue has reigned as Queen of Monsea, heroically rebuilding her nation after her father's horrific rule. After learning about the land of Torla in the east, she sends envoys to the closest nation there: Winterkeep—a place where telepathic foxes bond with humans, and people fly across the sky in wondrous airships. But when the envoys never return, having drowned under suspicious circumstances, Bitterblue sets off for Winterkeep herself, along with her spy Hava and her trusted colleague Giddon. On the way, tragedy strikes again—a tragedy with devastating political and personal ramifications.
Meanwhile, in Winterkeep, Lovisa Cavenda waits and watches, a fire inside her that is always hungry. The teenage daughter of two powerful politicians, she is the key to unlocking everything—but only if she's willing to transcend the person she's been all her life.
The Graceling Realm books are a companion series, not direct sequels, so they can be enjoyed in any order.
I cannot tell y’all just how excited I was to return to the Graceling world. Six years since I last read Bitterblue, and it is still one of my favorite series. Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore picks up four years after the final battle in Bitterblue. A new land has been discovered across the seas. Winterkeep is the closest kingdom within its borders and is far more advanced than the Monsean kingdoms. When one of Bitterblue’s envoys disappears under mysterious circumstances, she, Giddon, and Hava along with her advisors travel to the new kingdom where heartache and danger await.
Can I just say how much I love Bitterblue? She has fully stepped into her role as queen with grace. Although young, she is far from naive. She carries the burdens of the kingdom on her shoulders and the sins of her father on her heart. She is learning and growing and adapting to bring the best for her people. When unforeseen circumstances see her kidnapped by an unknown foe, Bitterblue must examine what is truly important to her if she is ever to survive.
And Giddon….sweet Giddon! He still has my heart, even after all these years. I fully shipped him with Bitterblue six years ago, and I dare say that ship was well worth waiting for. When Bitterblue is kidnapped, Giddon, along with Hava and the rest of the Monsean delegates, is left to believe she is dead. Bereft and grieving a love he never acknowledged, Giddon carries on without her, determined to solve the mystery they traveled across the sea to uncover.
Then there is Lovisa Cavenda, the daughter of a powerful family in the Winterkeep government. Her father and mother are on opposing political parties and running a dangerous operation out of their home, all under Lovisa’s nose. Lovisa is young, brash, and naive. My heart ached for her as she discovers that her safe space isn’t safe, those she loves are in danger, and she must decide once and for all if she will follow her parents’ lead or stand on her own principals.
Overall, I really enjoyed Winterkeep. Like its predecessors, Cashore focuses the story around the characters as much as the political intrigue and scheming. I loved every minute returning to the Graceling world. Seeing Bitterblue as queen in her own right, Giddon finally admitting his feelings, and being introduced to a new land and new characters was amazing. If you are a fan of the Graceling series or a lover of fantasy, I highly recommend it.
This month’s prompt was all about the location/setting of the book. As I’ve been reading a lot of romance recently, I decided to go with a fantasy that’s been on my TBR shelf for a few years now. I was so excited to return to the Graceling world. It is one of my favorite series, and I couldn’t wait to visit a new land within the world. It definitely didn’t disappoint. I alternated between my copy of the book and an audiobook copy. Really enjoyed the narrator.