Sunday, 13 May 2012

#103 Book Review: Bitterblue

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3)
Release Date: May 8th 2012
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Gollancz (Hachette Australia)
Source: Publisher for Review
Format: Paperback
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.

My review:

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!

 Check out the book trailer!


  1. I like the other cover better too. :)

    I haven't started this series yet (I know, I really AM ashamed of myself), but a lot of my friends are really excited about it, including Lisa. I find it a bit scary that the book needs a character guide in the end, but the best books are always worth the extra effort.

    I'm so happy you enjoyed this, Celine! Fantastic review. :)

  2. Amazing review, Celine! This series sounds MAGNIFICENT and I can't wait to read it one day <3 Wow. You've driven me crazy. Love! Everything about it just sounds wonderful!

  3. I'm going to have to pick this up - I've heard very mixed reviews about this, but they either seem to be really positive, or really negative!

    Fingers crossed I'll like it! Great review!

  4. I've only read Graceling, but I really liked it. I heard that Fire is even better (actually, people say that Fire is their favorite!). I really need to get on to finishing this series! The characters sound so awesome. Plus, I'm totally excited to see Katsa and Po again. Wonderful review, Celine!

  5. I've skimmed your review as I haven't read this series yet, but I did find Fire for $2 last week so I snapped it up and plan on starting the series soonish!

  6. Yay for Po's real name! ;) I remember you told me on Twitter that this book is amazing, Celine, and I'm oh-so-glad to read your review! This sounds much better than what I expected, especially because I didn't expect to see Fire appear! :) It's fantastic that Bitterblue has grown up in this book. I know that I'm going to fall in love with her character now. <3

    Amazing review, Celine! You definitely convince me to put this on top of my TBR list. <3

  7. OH MY GOSH, I WANT THIS BOOK SO BADLY! Both Graceling and Fire were five-star reads for me, so I'm SO happy that Bitterblue is the same!! And since I loved Graceling and Po (hehe, Greening Grandemalion -- his real name always makes me smile!) more than Fire, I'm even more excited to get more of my favourite characters again! Leck may be pure evil, but he's pure evil who intrigues! I want to know all his secrets now! [insert an evil laugh that sounds more like giggling]

    Amazing review, Celine! <3 You rock at re-arranging my TBR pile again and again! :)

  8. Celine! What on earth is wrong with me? why havent I read this series yet???? seriously! I wanna read this nowwww! omg It sucks that ive already missed the two books, ggrrr im so behind but im crossing my fingers that Ill find a time to read the first book of this series, this series sounds soo good, and I loved your review *sighs*


  9. This series is new to me, but I think it is awesome that a series out of your genre zone captured you and that you loved all three books, I will check out book one. Awesome review.

  10. Well Celine, this is one incredible review! I really like the sound of the villain Leck, he sounds like the perfect evil character to rival Voldy. I haven't read any of this series yet but I will definitely read this series after reading your review throughly. I really love the perfection of ever word in this review!

  11. You've got me so excited for Bitterblue now! I still haven't read Fire but I hope to soon - especially since Fire actually appears in this book! Great review, and really glad you enjoyed this one :).

  12. This is a series I have been on the fence about, it seems a lot of people either love Graceling or hate it. I don't read a lot of fantasy either, but after reading your review, this series sounds like one, that I should. It sounds like the characters jave become like old friends to you. Thanks for the recommend, Celine!

  13. I'm so excited for Bitterblue! I read Graceling because a friend recommended it to me (even though I didn't want to, at first!) and I completely fell in love with the series. What a great review! Gosh, I want to meet all the characters you described, meet old ones I already knew and experience the ride of emotions that I'm certain this book is going to be. Excited, excited!

  14. Wai-Wai-Wait, did you just say FIRE shows up too??! How come no one has mentioned this development? I had no idea she was going to be there. That just adds a whole new level to my excitement here, Celine. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

  15. WOW, Celine. I swear, if I could just drop my TBR right now and dive into Fire just so I can read Bitterblue, I FREAKING WOULD. See the things you do to me?! This sounds SO incredible. I love that you say Bitterblue shows that she is worthy of the title of Queen, that there is clear growth and respect for her character.

    Eeeee! PO! <3 It's been SO long since I read Graceling, I really want to reread. Le sigh. I'm so glad this was such an amazing installment, one that I am desperate to read! <3

  16. Okay, Celine? I wish I had a copy of Bitterblue right now! I read Graceling for SWF last year when Kristin came and talked and signed my books. Then I read Fire last month and I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVED IT! I only skimmed the review (I plug Aussie reviews of books when I write up my reviews so I'll be back ;)) but Oh my I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I'm kind of worried what Kristin's doing next. :| Just, these books.

  17. Excellent review my dear!!! Icoulnd't agree more!!!!!! the book is soooo well written. Bitterblue will certainly stay as one of the best books of the year (and years to come!)

    But dear (justif you want) you could announce the spoilers in the Character Section just in case someone hasn't read Bitterblue yet (the thing you mention when you were about 100 pages near the end of the book)

    Take care sweetheart! aoutstanding review!! woohooooo!! =D

    Dazzling Reads

    1. Oh Natalia, thank you so much for telling me that! That is very spoilery! I need to fix that.

      You take care too, Natalia! <3 Thank you SO MUCH!

  18. Wow, this sounds like a really beautiful series! I'm going to try to get my hands on a copy of book one as soon as possible. Lovely review, Celine!! :D

  19. Celine, I SWEAR I commented on this earlier in the week! YOUR REVIEW. I DIE.

    I am SO excited to read Bitterblue (I just have to find the time -__-), but AJKDGADFK! Oh my goodness. I'm so SO excited. I'm so excited to see how Bitterblue's grown, and FIRE TURNS UP? EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I HAD NO IDEA. You have NO idea how exciting this is to me. When I read Graceling, I was like 'OMG! NEW FAVORITE BOOK.' Then I read Fire... so, uh, to say I have high hopes for Bitterblue? Understatement.

    I swear this is the best review you've written yet! You are not only sweeter than Anna and the French Kiss on a sugar high, you're AMAZING, TOO!

  20. i honestly thought bitterblue was on the boring side, maybe because she wasnt a graceling like the Fire and Katsa? or maybe because there was just so much unneeded matterial in the book

  21. A delightful book, particularly suitable for young adults but quite capable of being enjoyed by older ones too. Not as appropriate for younger children to read because some of the atrocities from which Bitterblue is trying to help her country move on were horrible enough to make the tone of the book quite dark in places. But still a joy to read.

    Charmaine Smith ( For more about - Bears | Bear Viewing | Bear Viewing Trips)


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