Book Title: Bitterblue
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: 2012 DIAL Books – An Imprint of Penguin Group
Age Appropriate: Young Adult and above
Stars: 4.5 Stars
Description: 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.
Some books are dangerous. This is one of them. When I was not reading this book, I was thinking about reading it. I stayed up way too late at night saying to myself “just one more chapter.” Waking the next morning for work tired, but you know what? It does not bother me. Having a book disrupt my life, that is just the best. It consumes me, and i devour it.
The title character and narrator is Bitterblue. A young girl, now queen dealing with a kingdom that wants to forget her tyrant father’s 35 year reign and can’t remember what life was like before him. She is dealing with growing up, ruling a kingdom and trying to find the balance between finding out the truth about the past and moving forward. It has a bit of romance, a bit of friendship, a bit of “queenly” things, but mostly is all story. Cashore is a great storyteller. Period.
There were two other books before this one: Graceling and Fire. This is a “companion” book to Fire. You do not have to read these before reading Bitterblue. Some of the characters are in this book from previous books, but the majority is about Bitterblue, which is a completely new story. The only explanation you might need is this: A “Graceling” is a person identified by two different colored eyes. This means the person is “graced.” What their grace is, can be anything in the world from being a perfect fighter to a person who can sew really well. It is kinda a roll of the dice whether you get a crazy good grace, or just a “eh” one.
I have read some reviews from other people, while most love this book, some found it slow and too long. I on the other hand felt that after the half way point, the book started moving too fast. Or maybe it is that I wanted more story line with Saf. Others disliked the book because they were looking for more of a “Graceling Part 2.” Again, this is a story mostly about Bitterblue, with others from previous books acting as the supporting cast. When I started this book, I had almost no recollection of what happened in previous books since I read them so long ago. I ony remembered that I enjoyed them, maybe this gave me less expectations.
Overall, I really liked this book. It did not get 5 stars only because I wanted more from the Saf story line and felt like they tried to get too much into the last quarter part of the book.