Bitterblue (Graceling)

Kristin Cashore
The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and FireEight 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.


Reviewed: 2020-11-07
This novel takes place nine years after we last saw Bitterblue in Graceling. She’s now the queen of Monsea and wants to be a good leader, but she struggles to find her place and is overshadowed by the memory of her father who was the previous ruler. The conflict in this novel is more subtle and deals more with the politics of court. A lot of time was spent following Bitterblue’s internal conflict as she struggled between following her own instincts and whether she could trust her own advisors. I really enjoyed seeing the change in Bitterblue as she came into her own and began to trust her own mind and there was more character development with her than there were with the other two previous heroines in this series.

My only problem with the story was the love interest which felt forced. Although Bitterblue meets him early in the novel, most of their interactions concern Bitterblue’s discovery of how much she doesn’t know about her own kingdom. He helps her realize how much her advisors have kept from her, but none of this really connects with why, suddenly, feelings develop between the two. The novel would’ve been just as good without the love story between them.
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