Publication: May 1st 2012/Gollancz.
"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."
Bitterblue was a book I was waiting for. I loved both of Cashore's acclaimed Graceling and Fire. So, I was excited to read it...last year but then it got pushed to 2012. So when May 1st finally got around I was glad to see it in my bookstore. Cashore has a gift of writing a story that captivates you, where you feel drawn into her Graceling world, from start to finish.
Bitterblue is a book shrouded in mystery and has thrill permeated through the pages. You want to know the how the puzzle of Leck, Bitterblue's cruel father, fits together. You want to know and so does Bitterblue. She is frustrated at her closest staff, who seem to be, in her mind, a little crazy. Well, maybe a lot crazy.
Bitterblue is a more timid book compared to the others. There is a lot less action. Bitterblue, as a character, is like the book; more timid than Katsa or Fire. Yet, she still shares the bravery and determination that the former women have. That being said, she can hold her own and knows well how to throw a knife.
What I found so true in Bitterblue is her reliance on her friends. She was not afraid to let them know that she needed them and was willing to let them help her fight her past demons. However, Bitterblue is also naive and at times, she can come off as a little selfish. She sometimes leans to heavily on the same few people without thinking of their needs, such as Po.
Bitterblue has a lot of characters throughout the story such as Saf, a freckled faced thief and his best friend, the lovable Teddy. There is a few familiar faces from Graceling (do not worry, you do not have to have read Graceling to understand Bitterblue) such as Prince Po, Bitterblue's cousin, plays a huge part in the book helping Bitterblue while fighting a demon of his own which gains him a few bruises, as well as, Katsa and Giddon. Look out for a few others as well! It is dangerous territory introducing as well as reintroducing so many characters yet Cashore pulls it off. You create a connection with most of the characters.
What is so interesting with the novel Bitterblue, is the antagonist. It is very rare to have the bad guy of the story already dead. Leck may be dead but his his horrible doings live on with evidence in the castle and in the minds of the Monsean people.
I have read in many reviews, that the author, Kristin Cashore is an anti-man kind of writer. They see this as a negative. I do not. Maybe in Cashore's world pre-marital sex is not seen as any kind of sin.There is romance in the book but it does not play a large part in the story. It was paced and realistic to the situation. Unlike Katsa in Graceling, I believe that Bitterblue does want love. I'm sure she wants a husband and an heir, but this is not her biggest concern right now. Her concern is with her Kingdom.
A should read. Follow Bitterblue on her journey of truths and lies where she may uncover something bigger than she imagined.