Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin)
Length: 563 pages
In this sequel to Gracelingand companion to Fire, Bitterblue now sits on the throne of Monsea. Only 18 years old, Bitterblue must awake her kingdom from the 35 year spell of her father Leck, a violent psychopath who had the power of mind control. Tired of the futility of it all, one night Bitterblue sneaks out into the city alone, discovering the real problems her city faces, as well as the lies her advisers have been telling her. Can Bitterblue wade through the lies and find a way to save her kingdom, still under the spell of a madman 10 years after his death?
This book was intense. In my review of Fire, I suggested that my hate for Leck couldn’t grow any bigger. Well guys, it got bigger. Way bigger. I also began to pity Leck a bit, because we finally see some of the motives for his madness. But mostly I hated him.
Bitterblue was definitely more violent and less romantic than its counterparts, but it also presented a bigger mystery. I connected with Bitterblue as she tried to wade through all the lies and not just discover who she was outside of being queen, but also discover what her father did, and despite his huge, awful destruction, how she can possibly make it any better.
One of the best parts of this book was the resurfacing of Katsa, Po, Fire and more. It was very interesting to see them from Bitterblue’s point of view, and to see that there is no “happily ever after” but more a “constantly working for peace and still loving each other” kind of ending. I can only hope there will be more books located in these worlds!