Bitterblue by: Kristin Cashore (2012)
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Summary: This book takes place 10 years after Graceling when Bitterblue first took the crown when her dad was murdered. Her dad, King Leck, hade a Grace which included mind control. During his reign over the kingdom he abused, killed, tortured and more to the citizens of his kingdom. Bitterblue is trying to restore order in her kingdom and finally give people they peace they need. She encounters many hardships while trying to discover the truth of her father’s reign and become the queen she was always meant to be.
Review: I really enjoyed this book, but I still feel like it could have been better, but that may because I had to wait 3 years since Fire came out and my expectations may have been too high.
There are many people that say this is a stand-alone novel and you don’t have to read Graceling to be able to follow what is happening, but I slightly disagree. Although you can follow what is going on in the book I think you would enjoy it more and understand it more if you read Graceling first. It has been a couple of years since I read Graceling and it was frustrating at times when I had to wait to get things explained to me because I couldn’t remember what happened in Graceling. In the end it helps to have read Graceling first.
I enjoyed reading about Bitterblue’s struggle to become a good Queen after her horrible father. I found her character to be frustrating, loving, caring, funny, and exciting. I enjoyed following her midnight excursions out in her city outside of the confines of her castle. I also found all of the different puzzles she has to figure out to be entertaining, because as the reader you will be trying to put together the puzzle pieces on your own and hoping to solve the puzzle before Bitterblue. There were good surprises, although some of it was pretty easy to find out before they happen.
There are only two things that I had a real problem with. One was that was that this book wasn’t as full of adventures and battles, but I like books that have a lot of action. I also want to give you a heads up that this isn’t really a romance book either. Although Bitterblue does have her first relationship it isn’t an integral part of the book. I don’t need there to be a lot of relationship stuff in my books but I do enjoy more than this book gives you. On the other hand you get to see a strong young woman grow it into a Queen, and it is always nice to have young adult novels with strong female characters that don’t need a man or anyone else to tell them what to do. After years of just doing what everyone tells her to do Bitterblue finally starts taking control of her own life and gets a handle on running the kingdom.
My favorite part about the book is that they incorporate and bring back the characters from Graceling and Fire. The book wouldn’t have been as good without the presence of Katsa and Poe and their all around awesomeness.
It is definitely worth your time to read this book; especially if you are a fan of Kristin Cashore’s other novels.