“Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
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 sure I could tell you exactly what it was but there was something different about Bitterblue. Maybe it was the writing style because it didn’t really feel like Graceling or Fire. Not that it’s bad thing but there is something that was different.
I was initially annoyed a bit at how different Bitterblue was. Yes she’s different than the 10 year old that we left in Graceling but I was thinking more about how she’s different than Katsa and Fire. Both of those ladies are strong heroines. I’d say they’re different types of strong but still undeniably strong. Then there’s Bitterblue. She didn’t go out to kick butt and take names like Katsa or Fire. Instead she stays close to her kingdom. I originally saw this as almost a weakness but I’ve come to see that realize she’s being strong in a different way. She is the queen. She has a whole country to care for and rebuild. Leck’s been gone for a while but the wounds from his tyranny are still very visible. It’s going to take a while for everything to get back to normal. She has to think of other people not just herself.
I loved that we got to see old characters again. For whatever reason it just didn’t feel like them though. Katsa and Fire seemed a bit cold. I guess it makes sense though. Their characters were a bit cold in their books but you didn’t feel it or see it because the story was from their point of view. Po was different though. I adored him in Graceling. He was warm and charming and just loveable all around. Here I didn’t feel it as much. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked him. I grew fond of him over the course of the story but it just wasn’t the same guy I swooned over in Graceling.
The bottom line? I liked it but it’s not my favorite of the series.