Author: Kristin Cashore
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Dial (May 1, 2012)
Series: The Seven Kingdoms #3
Buy the book: Amazon
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 heartThis, people! This was the book. The one I've been waiting on, for years and years! The one I would have quite possibly "bit" someone for.....
I've been waiting forever!
I read Graceling and Fire before I ever started blogging. I fell in love with the world that Kristin Cashore created. Graceling and Fire are two of the very few books that I've ever read more than once. That list consists of Harry Potter, Twilight, Wicked Lovely, Graceling and Fire. That's how much I loved them. So, as you can imagine, I had high expectations for Bitterblue.
Bitterblue was a much different book than the other two. While Graceling and Fire are full of action and adventure, and focus on two women with extraordinary abilities, Bitterblue is much more reflective and mysterical (yeah...I just made that word up), and focuses on an ordinary girl thrust into an extraordinary situation.
Often in this book, and especially in the beginning, I felt that things were progressing very slowly. I think that this is probably going to be an issue for some, who like books that have a different pace to them. For me, I just enjoyed being back in this world. I actually took over a week to read it because I just wanted to soak it all in. But even though the beginning was slower, when it gets into the meat of things, this book is intense. Bitterblue is faced with the aftermath of the havoc that Leck wreaked on her country. She is left with a country waking up from a fog, and stumbling every step of the way.
I really like Bitterblue a lot. I love her strength and determination. I love how she grows in this book, and takes ownership of her people and her role as queen. I love the supporting characters. There are so many different characters who each have such distinctive personalities. One of the things I was most happy with was how much Po was a part of the story. I didn't realize he'd have such a huge role. It made me fall in love with him even more. I also fell in love with Giddon, Saf, Teddy and even Death.
The romance in the book is slow moving and full of tension. And there is so much mystery, betrayal, and heartbreak. Kristin Cashore pulled out some seriously genius material, with cyphers and codes and mazes and plot twists. There were so many times when my mouth literally dropped open and I was floored. Especially when it came to learning about Leck.
Diving into the mind of Leck was seriously intense. At points it was emotionally draining. I think there will be people who have a really hard time reading parts of this book. While reading it, I wanted to resurrect Leck just so I could kill him again. He might possibly be the most evil, sadistic, narcissistic character I've ever read about.
I could seriously go on and on and on about all the amazingness that is this book. If you are a fan of her other books, and enjoy a more in-depth high fantasy, you will not be disappointed in this book. It isn't as action packed as the other two, but it is much more though-provoking. Honestly, I thought it was brilliant!
The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams-Chima, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Will I buy it?
YES! Already pre-ordered!
- Profanity: Mild
- Sexual Content: Heavy
- Violence: Heavy
- Other Nothables: Difficult issues including harm to children and rape.