Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

13 07 2012















I had a lot more expectations coming into Bitterblue then I had had with the previous two novels in this series. I’d read a bunch of reviews – and this either was good or bad – and most of them were resoundingly negative. People really disliked this book and felt that it was the worst in the series. Many called it a huge disappointment.


So with that expectation coming in, I expected to dislike Bitterblue. I didn’t really hate it, per se, but it wasn’t my favorite. I liked it more than most, I think. If I was going to rate it with a star system, I’d give it three stars, but many reviewers went with one or two stars.


Bitterblue takes place ten years later after Graceling does and focuses upon Bitterblue, a character that doesn’t play into Graceling until later in the book but has a huge role in the story nonetheless. Bitterblue is now eighteen and queen of Monsea. She is working on rebuilding her kingdom with the help of her advisors. She wants to be a leader, the queen that her kingdom wants and needs. But her advisers, still wary of the kingdom’s past, keep her sheltered and fill her days with mindless work.


Until she decides she’s had enough. Until she gets a cloak and heads out into the world. Until she starts to find out the secrets of Monsea and starts to figure out what her advisers have been keeping from her. Until she meets two boys and they teach her about the broken cracks in society. Until Bitterblue decides that she’s going to change Monsea and become the queen that the country truly deserves.


I didn’t particularly like this book, but I found it to be decent. The main issue I had with the story was the mystery. There are tons of sub plots and stories throughout this book, and they’re hard to keep track of. Many of them also aren’t that hard to figure out either. The other issue that lots of the mysteries are solved off screen – by other characters, not Bitterblue – and then dropped, leaving me confused about the resolution.


Also, the romance. Bitterblue’s romance doesn’t end happily, and this surprised me, as there was great, happy-ever-after romance in both previous books. I’m not sure why there was a change/difference here.


I did like how the three books connected; Fire returns as do Katsa and Po. (Were they really that animated in Graceling?) The book really comes full circle, and this is a spoiler, so be careful. It shows the past, present (at the time) and the future of Leck and how people act and react around him.


Cashore’s writing remains gorgeous, and I love her writing style.


Overall, this wasn’t my particular favorite but I think fans of the first two novels should give it a try, at least to see the series come full circle.





One response

6 08 2012
Book Review: “Bitterblue” « The Cheap Reader

[…] Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore ( […]

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