Friday, February 8, 2013

Highlights of the past year: Review of Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3) Goodreads Book Description: The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

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.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I have just finished Bitterblue, the anticipated third book in the Graceling trilogy. Is it possible to give a book six stars?

Bitterblue chronicles the new queen of Monsea several years after the death of her father, the psychopath Graceling, Leck, and the repercussions that are a direct result from his horrific reign of terror. We see her as she grows, seeks out the truth for herself, and are re-introduced to Po, Giddon, Katsa, as well as other characters we have grown fond of.

My issue with Graceling was that it started too slow and took me a while to get into. My issue with the second book, Fire, was that it almost got too bogged down in sadness and self-recrimination. Bitterblue had neither of these issues. I was sucked in from the first chapter and savored each word. We are introduced to new characters, all who greatly appealed to me, most of all Death, who is currently one of my all time favorite characters. One can tell that Cashore also loves him as he gets the last word!

While the surprises revealed in this book are not unexpected, I found myself still delighted when they came. Furthermore, I thought it was amazing how Leck, a character who has haunted the first two books, was the center of this book. While it is Bitterblue's story, it is also very much Leck's and we get more a sense of him here than in any book although he has died over a decade ago. And the last meeting of old friends-- it was extremely satisfying.

Finally, Bitterblue is an incredible protagonist. She is young, but strong and fiercely loyal and incredibly intelligent. We only get a glimpse of her at the end of Graceling, which was enough to make me realize she was worth her own book. Somehow, even though the other two books were wonderful on their own, this book surpasses and triumphs over them all.

The balance between spots of humor among friends and the horrors of what have come before is perfect. I do not take this lightly when I say this is the best book I have read all year. A perfect, beautiful, poignant, thoughtful, and worthy conclusion to the Graceling trilogy.

What did you think of this book? 

1 comment:

  1. I'm on the other side of you-I really didn't like this book, finding Bitterblue incredibly annoying and far inferior to Katsa's awesomeness. I loved Death though-he was fantastic!