Release Date: May 1, 2012
Rating: 5 stars
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 liked Graceling a lot, but didn’t love it. I loved Fire and thought it was amazing. Neither of these prepared me for the absolutely mindblowing book Kristin Cashore delivered with Bitterblue. This book stole my heart on page one and even after I turned the last page, it didn’t let go. Everything Cashore builds in this novel was so intricately done. I sat there in awe after I finished the book, and it lingered on my mind for many days to come. This is her best book to date.
The writing in Bitterblue is absolutely gorgeous. That has always been one of my favorite things about her books – her beautiful prose and her detailed world. The world that was established in Graceling has been built upon, and I just loved it. It’s a world that I could happily read book after book in, and never tire of it. The concept of it Graces just fascinates me.
Bitterblue was a character that I liked in Graceling, and I loved seeing how she’d changed since we last saw her. Bitterblue was strong, had spunk, and an curiosity that couldn’t be smothered. I loved the other characters met in Graceling who make appearances in Bitterblue have really grown as well. My biggest issue with Graceling was some characteristics about Katsa, but by this point in the story, she has matured and moved on. Kristin Cashore always has an amazing boy in her books, and while I don’t know if Saf has quite lived up to my love for Brigan and Po, he comes pretty darn close. Saf was such a complex character and he was not going to let anyone tell him what to do.
Bitterblue weaves a tale that was so complicated and intense. There was this constant sense of intrigue as I was reading. The plot was ever-building, and the different storylines of the book began to intersect. I never knew what Kristin Cashore was going to throw at readers next. Yet, there were also so many moments when I had to step back and just admire the little things going on, like the compassion between characters. The relationships between the characters are all so deep and learning all their back was one of the best parts of the book. The ending was phenomenal – the thought had crossed my mind at several points throughout the book, but I was not sure what Cashore would do about that event. I loved how she tied up the story, it was perfect: full of hope.
I did not want this book to end. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore was simply a masterpiece, and was everything I had hoped for and more in the years of waiting since Fire. Kristin Cashore is simply a master of fantasy, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.