Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

April 16th, 2012 by Debbie's World of Books

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Source: Received it as a gift from my local book club

Publication date: May 1, 2012

Publisher: Dial

Series: Sequel to Graceling and companion book to Fire

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads.com: 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.

I absolutely adored Graceling so when I found out this was our gift for our first book club meeting I wanted to jump out of my seat.  I started to hear some mixed reviews about it trickling through Twitter which tempered some of my excitement but with our next book club meeting looming I finally picked it up.  On one hand it was a big mistake because I was trying to finish up a paper for class and complete a group project as well but on the other hand this book was sooo good!  All of my homework went on hold that day because I had to finish this book!  I started it on my morning commute to work and then stayed up late to finish it the same night.

At the end of Graceling I was curious to see how things would go for Bitterblue as she takes the reigns of a city that has been living under this cloud of Leck’s lies for so many years.  Sure enough she encounters one obstacle after another and I pitied Bitterblue because I could feel how badly she wanted to be a good queen and rectify all the wrongs committed by her father but she just doesn’t know how.  Then there is her advisers who are supposed to help her in ruling but only serve to add more confusion.  The whole group had me waffling back and forth between whether they were on Bitterblue’s side or plotting against her.  It was one of the reasons I could not stop reading.  I just had to know who was good and who was bad.

I really came to love Bitterblue and shared her frustration with what really seemed like a bunch of crackpots surrounding her.  Yes, she was so whiny at times she grated on my nerves but then I reminded myself she was only around 18 years old, was raised in constant fear around her crazy father and now has the responsibility to try and right the wrongs he committed throughout his reign. Add to this that she doesn’t know who she can really trust and I’ll say she does have a right to be whiny at times.  The strength she showed in the face of everything and the constant betrayals demonstrated just how good a queen she will come to be.

I loved that my favorite characters from Graceling appear quite a bit in this book including Katsa, Po, Giddon, Raffin and Bann.  There are some new supporting characters that were just as endearing in particular Teddy.  He’s adorable and so ridiculously scholarly that I couldn’t help but laugh at many of his parts.  Surprisingly I also came to really like Bitterblue’s librarian, Death, who is the stereotypical crotchety, old librarian taken to the extreme.

Cashore masterfully fleshed out just how big of a villain Leck was and as hard as it is to imagine he was even worse than everyone thought.  The atrocities his sick, twisted mind came up with and the reasoning behind his actions are horrifying.

The only part of the book that did not sit quite right with me was the romance.  It was obvious that Bitterblue was going to fall for Saf, the boy who is all wrong for the Queen of Monsea but who truly makes Bitterblue happy.  What made it kind of strange was that her friendship with Lord Giddon made me think they would make such a good couple.  He seems to understand Bitterblue so well, complements the areas she is deficient in and their personalities blend so well together.  I’m not sure if this is a build up of some sort to a future book or I was just reading too much into their friendship.

Either way I loved this book and even though the length was a bit intimidating it was so worth the read.

Follow Kristin Cashore online at:

Her blog: This is My Secret

Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Fantasy, Young Adult

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