AUTHOR: Kristin Cashore
PUBLISHER: Dial Books
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4/5)
Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.
But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck’s death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck’s reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea’s past has become shrouded in mystery, and it’s only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle – curious, disguised and alone – to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.
Whatever that past holds.
Two thieves, who have sworn only to 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, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart …
Well, I am finally finished with the Graceling Realm and I have to say that I am so pleased with this book. This book had all of the potential and everything I wanted to see from the previous books in it. Bitterblue is easily my favorite protagonist from all three books. Her character was strong, charismatic, empathetic, and most importantly desired change in a Kingdom that was recovering from a heinous ruler. This book delivered all my favorite characters from the previous books in a nice little package and allowed me to observe them from a new character perspective.
While I felt that Graceling and Fire had a very strong young adult undertone (which is not an unreasonable thing to say as they are, in fact, YA reads), I felt Bitterblue almost had the strength to stand alone as an adult fantasy novel.
All in all, I am very happy with how this series was left, and how Cashore grew as a writer through the whole experience, and how I got to see all the characters come to life through each book.
On another note, and I’m not sure if this was just my edition of the book or if all copies contained it, Cashore has included pictures and explanation of her writing progress of Bitterblue that was thoroughly entertaining to read and a great addition to the book. Also very inspiring to readers who are also writers.