Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Bitterblue


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.


So, I finally finished this series. Or, at least I hope I did. The ending left room for another book. But I don't want to talk about the ending first, I want to talk about the story, the plot, the characters, and whatever else my mind comes up with as I type this. :D

First of all, Bitterblue had a big hype when the cover and ARCs started going out. I felt like "Crap, really?! The third book already! Where have I've been?" So, after debating with myself, I bought it. Totally worth it. And to mix it up a bit, I want to talk about the cover while I'm staring at it. 1: I love the keys. The keys were the big thing most bloggers commented. Whoever drew them is a genius. And I didn't even see Bitterblue hidden behind the keys, I just saw the eye, but then I looked closer, and you can see Bitterblue's face. I love what a computer and artists can do today. And I learned the reason for the keys in the book. Hint: Think of what keys do......

So, the plot. There are people called Truthseekers (not really called that by anyone but Bitterblue) that are getting killed because they are trying to return what Leck stole and bring to light what he did. Bitterblue seeks out the truth about it all from two boys, Saf (Sapphire from Lienid) and Teddy (from Monsea). While she has them doing this, she tries to understand why Leck did all the things he did and what it did to her people and her staff. Base plot. But then there are all sorts of complications and problems that happen. A lot of betrayals and secrets that come out. Some of them are very, VERY personal. In all the chaos, Bitterblue made it through, but at some points, it's like "What just happened?" There was so much going on with all the subplots, it was crazy. I mean, I loved it that we got to see old characters, like Po and Katsa, but Po's issue with his true Grace and his blindness and not telling anyone was a bit annoying. Sure, Po could have been taken advantage of by people if they knew his true Grace, but still, I think it was a bit overplayed just a bit.

As I said in my review for Fire, I definitely would read Fire before you read this one. There were so many things I understood about Leck and what he did from reading Fire. If you didn't read it, then I feel you would be stumbling through the whole book with "why" going through your head. And asking "how is this possible?" One thing about Bitterblue is that in the entire book, she's trying to find Leck's history and why he did the things he did. Fire (or if you read my review) shows why he did what he did. Why he created Leck City/Bitterblue City in the same image as the Dells. And later when both sides unit---wow.

Bitterblue. Didn't realize that she was 10 in Graceling. Wow. She's grown up. I'd figure the book would start out right after Graceling left off, but no. So, 8 years of ruling a kingdom she doesn't know. Bitterblue is still a bit of the little girl she was in Graceling. Confuse and doesn't understand why some of the things have happened. Her uncle, King Ror of Lienid, appointed advisers that weren't the best; for as she ruled, they did something behind her back that I was so shocked of. I get that they don't to remember, but as a queen, she needed to know. But sometimes, I feel that I was reading through the eyes of a little girl, or a cry baby. Bitterblue, despite her determination and willingness to help others and her kingdom, cried a lot. And did some things on an impulse. Never really thinking it through. I point this out a lot because I think it's makes a character stupid yet lovable. Stupid because it's without thought, lovable but it gives her a personality.

Saf. I forgot that in Lienid, you are named after a color, but then find some better nickname because your name could be really stupid. Saf's name, this guy's name, is Sapphire. Yeah, like the stone, my birthstone to be exact. Well, it could have been worse, but anyway---He's a thief, one of the Truthseekers. And he meets Bitterblue in story rooms and she starts talking to him and Teddy about what Leck's done. I like him, don't love him. He, like Bitterblue, could behave like a child, like when he found out that the baker girl Sparks was actually Queen Bitterblue of Monsea. You want to know what he did? He stole her crown and gave it to the man that runs the black market! He was stupid, and then he held the grudge against her for 3/4 of the book. But he was also brave. He did try to help her out when she needed it, since he got her in this mess. And I believe he did love her, but he could just sit around the palace and be her escort. At least they ended in friends. Oh, forgot to say, I love it that both Saf's and Bitterblue's names are blues. :D

While I read, I noticed something I found very different from other YA fantasy books: there were real life problems within the story. Suicide and LGBTQIA. Mostly LG. I was pleasantly surprised. I really don't read much of LGBTQIA in most YA because a good love triangle or insta-love story is dominate in YA. The way Cashore went at it is mostly with the males, but she did mention the females: Teddy's and Saf's sisters are together. But it was mostly with the royals. It really didn't cause much of an issue except with Raffin's father wanting him to marry and if Po's father, King Ror, would react the same way he had when Po's brother, Skye, told him that he was gay. It was nice to read something different than starcrossed lovers. And the suicide thing, well, let's say that some of Bitterblue's staff couldn't stop thinking about what Leck did and they didn't want her to find out, and when she did, they blamed themselves, as they have for years, and killed themselves. One of them was very personal to Bitterblue and it made me cry. Oh, and he cut himself too. It was a rollercoster of emotions that had me plowing through the book as often as I could. (I read it in the car on the way home, I fell asleep, but later that night I finished it.)

Ending: Wow. Just wow. Remember how I said there was a union/meeting between both sides? Well, there was. Katsa is an explorer, and if you read Fire or my review, you come to the conclusion she crossed to the other side and brought some of them over. Specifically, Fire herself. Discovering each other was like a wake up call, and turns out the Dellians have been watching them for 15 years. It was only now that they choose to emerge. *Sigh But there was a talk of war and overthrowing kings. Left room for a sequel! Maybe with Katsa as the main character again? Or all three leading ladies. :D

Future: Who knows? Sequel maybe?


"The Grace of giving dreams was a beautiful Grace for someone contrary and dear to have." pg. 473
Convo between Saf and Bitterblue
"'I'll give you a dream," he whispered to her. "A wonderful dream. I won't tell you.'"
"'An experiment?' said Bitterblue with the tiniest smile.
""'An experiment, Sparks.'" pg. 474

Bitterblue was a strong fantasy novel that drew my emotions on a rollercoster. A colorful world full of mysteries and secrets, it makes you want a pair of keys yourself. I loved it, a definite read for fantasy lovers of the Eragon series and the Game of Thrones series. :D

Rating, Cover, & Ending:

*Bought this book.

Keep On Reading!

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And I LOVE it so far!


  1. Great review! I have heard nothing but good about this series but I STILL need to read it!!! I just adore the quotes you included and I like how you wrote your review in parts!! I skimmed through most of it because like I said before I still need to read it's series but I am so glad to hear you loved it!

    Bittersweet is totally on my tbr list! Can't wait to read your review for it :-)

    Following your blog!