Release Date: May 8th 2012
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Gollancz (Hachette Australia)
Source: Publisher for Review
Where to Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository
More Info: Goodreads
Summary from Goodreads: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'm not a really big fan of the cover but I like how the girl represents Bitterblue and the background with the snowy mountains and dark sky. I actually prefer the UK/AU cover compared to the US one!
This is a story of Bitterblue, the Queen of Monsea...
Kristin Cashore's debut novel, Graceling, mesmerized me and completely took my breath away. I was not a very big fan of fantasy when I first read the book but I was utterly speechless at how amazing Graceling was. When I read Fire, again I was completely mesmerized by how well-written Cashore's books are. I read both books last year so I only waited a year for Bitterblue, considering how Fire was published in 2009 and readers who read the book in 2009 would have to wait 3 whole years to finally be able to get Bitterblue. The question is: is it worth the wait? My answer: a gazillion yes.
I don't think my review will ever do this book justice but I will try my best. It's been 8 years since Bitterblue was saved by Po and Katsa from her evil father, King Leck. Bitterblue now reigns over Monsea as their queen and the city is now called Bitterblue city instead of Leck city. Bitterblue takes us into a journey of Bitterblue's struggles for her kingdom and her people, overcoming her trauma of her evil father and finding herself. This book is split into 5 parts. Cashore beautifully weaves a compelling story, written from Bitterblue's POV that transports me back to the world of the Seven Kingdoms once more. My questions about Leck, his true identity and his Graceling is finally answered in this book.
While exploring Bitterblue's life as a queen, characters from both Graceling and Fire make an appearance in Bitterblue. The lovely Katsa and Po are constantly throughout the book, giving Bitterblue the support she needs to rule her kingdom while Fire makes an unexpected appearance towards the end of the book. I do not wish to spoil anything further but this book also comes with illustrations of Bitterblue city, the map of the Seven Kingdoms and the castle. I really adore the illustrations and they really help me imagine the whole setting of Bitterblue.
In the end of the book, there is also a characters' guide which is really handy because there are so many characters in this book that you might lose track of which one is which. The ending wrapped the whole story of Bitterblue gracefully. It gives us hope for the characters and that perhaps, Cashore might once again give birth to another brilliant book set in the Seven Kingdoms.
Cashore's writing is truly amazing and alluring. Her story is absolutely well-written and so are her characters. I really adore Bitterblue, for her strength and compassion. She is only 18 years old but is weighed down with a responsibility of ruling her own kingdom. Being a Queen is not all about a luxurious and spoiled life where a Queen is pretty much nothing but a figure head in the society. Bitterblue has grown so much throughout the book. She is no longer a naive, fragile girl who is still tormented by her father's fears. She showed us, readers, that she is worthy of the title 'Queen' and that she can rule her kingdom. She tries her best to understand her people and even though she will find herself often betrayed by her trusted ones, she will stand up and stay strong. She also meets interesting new characters which I do not wish to spoil, two of the characters are both thieves who will change the way she sees and understands her people.
Our dearest Po a.k.a Greening Grandemalion (oh how good it is to hear Po's real name!) and Katsa are back in Bitterblue. They offer support and help for Bitterblue and are shown to be very happy and lively. I am grateful to see how Po is adjusting very well with his life despite his 'blindness' after 8 years. Katsa is still the amazing heroine we adored from Graceling and I'm just truly happy to see her with Po together in Bitterblue.
I have learned a lot of things about Leck in this book and I can only say two words to summarize what he is and that is PURE EVIL. Reading about him in this book makes me think that he is a truly wretched man with no conscience and guilt. His Graceling ruins his people, his family and even though he's dead, he is not truly dead. His name brings back painful memories to Bitterblue and her kingdom. Moreover, I do have to admit that he is very clever. He uses others to commit his evil doing and tries to mold Bitterblue to be like him. I also learned more about his identity, where he might came from, who his parents were and his true name.
[Spoiler warning. Please highlight to read the text.] When I was about 100 pages away from the end of the book, I never thought Fire would appear and when she did, I was overjoyed with how the characters are now all here, talking to each other and it was an elegant touch to the story.
Constantly, I find myself forgetting the rest of the characters even though they also play an important role in the story because they were very many characters in this book. It was very hard to keep track of which one is which and who they are. Nevertheless, I didn't have a problem understanding the whole story despite my lack of remembering who each characters are and I was truly satisfied with how the characters in this story developed from the beginning of the book until the end.
Cashore's excellently written Bitterblue, takes readers on a journey of the now 18 years old Bitterblue on her life, her struggles for her kingdom, overcoming her vicious father's impact on her and finding herself. The mysteries of Leck are also finally answered as you turn each page of the book. With a delightful return of the beloved characters from Graceling and Fire, this exceptional book is truly worth the three years of wait. Bitterblue will once again sweep you into the exquisite world of the Seven Kingdoms.
|5 Forget-me-not flowers for Bitterblue!|
Thank you Hachette Australia for the review copy!
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