I received this book via the publisher Dutton Books for Young Readers. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #5
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on 2022-11-01
Length: 623 pages
Reviewing Hardcover from the publisher Dutton Books for Young Readers
Reading Challenges: 2022 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, 2022 New Release Challenge
Make the harrowing journey home with Queen Bitterblue's sister and spy, in the fifth novel in the bestselling Graceling Realm series.
Hava sails across the sea toward Monsea with her sister, the royal entourage, and the world’s only copies of the formulas for the zilfium weapon she saved at the end of Winterkeep. During the crossing, Hava makes an unexpected discovery about one of the ship’s crew, but before she can unravel the mystery, storms drive their ship off course, wrecking them in the ice far north of the Royal Continent. The survivors must endure a harrowing trek across the ice to make it back to Monsea. And while Queen Bitterblue grapples with how to carry the responsibility of a weapon that will change the world, Hava has a few more mysteries to solve—and a decision to make about who she wants to be in the new world Bitterblue will build.
I cannot get enough of the Graceling world, and I was so excited when I learned that Kristin Cashore was returning to it. Seasparrow is the fifth installment of the series told exclusively from Hava’s POV. Hava is Queen Bitterblue’s half-sister and spy, a skilled Graceling, and one that I couldn’t wait to learn more about. Following the events of Winterkeep, Seasparrow documents the journey back to Monsea and all that Hava learns about herself and her companions along the way.
Hava is a difficult character to like. I liked her because of her bond with Bitterblue and how they watched out for her. However after reading from her perspective, getting to know her and her actions better, I love Hava. She is a straight shooter, meaning she doesn’t pull her punches and she does not tolerate lying in any form. Then again, who would if they had lived through King Leck? Hava doesn’t trust easily, and she comes off as snobbish and a bit bratty to the sailors who are traveling with them. With the newfound relationship between Giddon and Bitterblue still a secret even from her, Hava is lonely and beginning to question where she fits in, where her home is.
In the midst of Hava’s emotional self-crisis, the ship sails into a bad storm and the journey back to Monsea becomes even more dangerous than before. I loved how inquisitive Hava is of the ship, how she wants to have a place on it and contribute as she feels confined and out of place letting them do all the work. It’s easy to see, even through Hava’s perspective, how the crew treat her and admire her, though she keeps them all at a distance. I loved seeing her tentatively trust and put her own life and Bitterblue’s in other’s hands. Her confrontation with her own demons and how she admits to herself that she is lost. The little blue fox she saves is a bit of levity in an otherwise darker tale.
I loved Seasparrow. The conversational narrative makes it easy to empathize with Hava and grow to love her. It allows us to understand the reasoning behind her actions as that is not always obvious. Everything she does, she does for her the safety of those she loves: Bitterblue, Giddon, the advisors, even the sailors she doesn’t quite trust. Hava’s giant, caring heart is the true story here. Fans of Graceling will delight returning to the world in an all new adventure. Highly recommend!