Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Graceling Realm #3
Received From: Bought
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 don’t even know where to start. I really don’t. I’m going to try to keep this as short as possible because I know there’s tons of reviews out there and I’m not going to say anything that others haven’t said already. Plus, I could probably rave about this book for a long time. I’ll try to spare you.
Bitterblue has been a really long time coming. I think Fire came out in 2009? I’ve been very anxiously awaiting the third installment ever since then. Needless to say I had some very high expectations for Bitterblue. Every single one of them were met. Bitterblue takes place 8 years after Graceling, and even though it’s been years since I read it I fell easily back into the world. The events of Graceling are still very fresh in this book so it all came back, but I wish that I would have reread Fire. It’s so interlinked with this story and there’s all these subtle things that connect to Fire. I wish that it would have been fresh in my mind. I’m still so, so impressed with how the stories all clicked in the end.
Kristin Cashore did this very unique thing to me in this book. I started out with an opinion of some characters, with thoughts on what was going on. Then somewhere around the middle of the book she changed my mind. I though maybe I was wrong and I actually had no idea what was going on. Then toward the end my whole outlook changed again! I always had an inkling of who the bad guys were but I never knew for sure. That made the book a roller coaster ride of surprises.
There’s a spoiler for Graceling ahead: There’s not many villains that just completely creep me out. Honestly, there’s only one. Leck. I would go so far as to say that he is the best villain I have ever read. When he showed up in Fire as a child I got chills! That has never happened before. In Bitterblue it’s been eight years since his death and he is still so much a part of everyone’s lives. He’s still alive in people’s fears and actions. He’s still controlling so many people just with their memories of his reign. That whole aspect of the story made it so amazing.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to think of Bitterblue at first. She kind of lived in a fog but she grows exponentially throughout the book. I really grew to love her. I was so, so thrilled that Katsa and Po are in this book so much. It made me want to reread Graceling. This book is filled with lots of characters, but I found it easy to keep them straight. I liked almost all of them, even some that I shouldn’t have liked.
Remember when I said I was going to keep this short? Ha!
This is one of those books that I wish I could climb into and live in. The world is so extraordinarily developed that I just lose myself in it. Bitterblue is one of those books that I missed for days after I finished it. It was incredible. I have no words for just how incredible. Just read them if you haven’t.