Author: Kristin Cashore
Standing: Sequel to Graceling; companion to Fire
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Source: Purchased from 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 heart. ~Goodreads
Bitterblue is the sequel to Graceling and a companion novel to Fire, but the great thing about this book is that you don’t need to read either of Kristin Cashore’s previous novels in order to enjoy it. While there are plot threads from the other books continued in this one, it’s also an independent story, which I think is fantastic.
Kristin Cashore’s Graceling Realm books are some of the most rich fantasy novels I have ever had the pleasure to read. They’re beautifully written, with intricate plots, a well-developed fantasy world and three-dimensional characters. Bitterblue was no different - the story is gorgeously told, and while sinking into any of Kristin Cashore’s novels can be a gradual thing, once you’ve been absorbed into one it’s nearly impossible to put it down again!
One of the things I really loved about Bitterblue was the characters. Many of the ones we got to know in Graceling - Katsa, Po, Giddon, Helda, Raffin, Bann, etc. - reappear in Bitterblue, and it’s fantastic to be able to see them through different eyes and become even more familiar with them. Giddon, especially, becomes a bigger character in Bitterblue than he ever was in Graceling, and I ended up feeling quite a lot of affection for all of them - just as much as I felt at the end of Graceling, if not more!
A complex, convoluted tale of truth and lies, honesty and deceit, loyalty and betrayal, Bitterblue is a wonderful addition to the Graceling Realm series. It has everything you could want in a fantasy novel - magical skills, medieval-esque kingdoms, ciphers and mysteries, twists and turns, wonderful characters and an amazing plot. You won’t want to miss this novel!
Book TrailerFittingly epic, don't you think?
Sneaking was a kind of deceit. So was disguise. Just past midnight, wearing dark trousers and Fox's hood, the queen snuck out of her own rooms and stepped into a world of stories and lies.PS I've started a blog so that I can post my poetry - check it out! >> Small Infinities: Poetry + Photography.
PPS Happy Father's Day to any and all dads reading this!