Author: Kristin CashorePublisher: Dial Books
Page Count: 563 pages, Paperback
Date Published: May 1st 2012
Find it on Goodreads: Bitterblue
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 . . .
Kristin Cashore is a powerhouse when it comes to writing intense, detailed fantastical stories with strong and dynamic characters that make one proud to be a woman. And that is exactly what Bitterblue did for me. Tying up Graceling, as well as Fire, Bitterblue was the perfect conclusion to an epic series/companionship.
Kristin Cashore writes the types of books that I have always wanted to read. She doesn't conform to the stereotypical fantasy worlds where men rule all, women are weak, and everyone is white and heterosexual. NO. She writes about women who are strong but are still growing, women who are vulnerable and need to ask for help, women who take control of their own situations and don't allow their pasts to define them, WOMEN IN POLITICS WHO TOTALLY RULE AT IT. Cashore has POC protagonists, representation of the LGBTQ and disabled communities, people who struggle with their mental health, and she does not shy away from the subject of sex, contraception, babies (and the fact that not all women may want them). Bitterblue may not have been filled with as much action as Graceling or as much romance as Fire, but there was so much beautiful characterization, strong friendships, complicated relationships, parental issues, grief, and well... a freaking awesome librarian who is probably one of my all time favourite supporting characters. These books are ones that my bookish friends and I completely gush over anytime someone mentions anything about them and for good reason. The characters are ones that are easy to get attached to and the story is one that will keep you hooked from the moment you open the first page to the moment you close the last page. I regret not reading this series sooner and I urge everyone to read them as soon as possible.