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17 May 2012

Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Product Details
(click the image to go to the amazon.com Bitterblue page)

From Amazon:
The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

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.
This is one of my favorite series.  I love Katsa, and her many strenghths and weaknesses.  I was intrigued by Leck and his psyche---how does one get to be that way?  I felt bad for Bitterblue, and at the end of Graceling, really wanted to see how she would turn out.  And Po, well, Po has a special place in my heart. 
A lot of people have said that Bitterblue read slow to them, but I disagree.  It took me longer to read, as there were so many twists and turns.  At times, I felt like I was unraveling a knot---and honestly, I love unraveling knots! 
While many of Leck's atrocities were elluded to, not many were actually spelled out, which I appreciate.  I think it makes the reader guess, and I, knowing what I know about Leck's character, automatically went to the worst possible things.  And then there was a twist, and like Forrest Gump, thats all I'm going to say about that  (you read that sentence in the voice, didn't you?  If you didn't, you just went back and reread it so you could...) 
I didn't realize that Leck had reigned in Monsea for 35 years before his death.  I assumed, I guess since Bitterblue and Ashen were younger, that his reign was shorter.  But, if he had killed the previous King and Queen when he was about 12, that makes sense. 
The character of Bitterblue was really well written, in my opinion.  She had depth.  You felt her frustration, both between not knowing what was going on and the stalemates she kept running into with her advisors.  I loved seeing her grow and change, just in the span of however many pages long the book was.

I would definitely recommend this book (and Graceling and Fire) to anyone.  In fact, when my TBR pile shrinks a little, I think I'm going to reread all three.

Other books in the series:

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