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Bitterblue (Graceling) by Kristin Cashore
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1,4531345,153 (4.08)226
Member:theadawn
Title:Bitterblue (Graceling)
Authors:Kristin Cashore
Other authors:Ian Schoenherr (Illustrator)
Info:Dial (2012), Hardcover, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

  1. 101
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English (135)  German (2)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
This is my first review, though I have thought of writing others. I guess I decided to put my thoughts down because this book is very different from the author's previous ones. That being said, I also felt that the other reviews came down to hate it or love it (the few one I read before reading the book, of course I didn't read all of them).
I really, really liked it.
The way Kristin Cashore writes is a relief, because each book is different from the others. And even though they're never written in the first person, you can feel the difference because each book is centered on different people with different experiences in life.
It starts very slow and there's a feeling of too much building up to what really matters, but about, maybe, halfway through the book it hooked me. I couldn't stop reading because I had to know how it ended.
It's a much darker book than the others (Graceling was about not fitting in and breaking out; Fire about not fitting in and accepting who you are; Bitterblue, more mature, about right and wrong and how to heal and about how somethings can never be put to right), and I loved the way Cashore didn't shy away from the bad things. Which I found kind of funny because this time she shied away from the more romantic stuff, which she hadn't done in Graceling and Fire.
The twists and turns, the OMG moments in this book were amazing. I can usualy spot whether a character is going to follow this or that path in a book (it was completely obvious for me on the other two) but this time, I was surprised about some characters until, for instance, when Bitterblue walks in on Fox holding her mother's sheets, and others I only got an inkling near the end like, Madlen. And of course I loved seeing Katsa and Po and Fire again, even as minor characters. It was great to see how they'd grown in some ways, but in others (in their core)they were still the same characters I fell in love with in the previous books.
I could have loved it, and if I had done this review before the last "chapter" of the book, then that's probably what I would have put it as. But the ending...it's what ruined it for me. I don't care if it leaves somethings open to imagination, as on Graceling or Fire, but this ending? Completely open. And I am not a fan of cliffhangers, which I'll admit was only in terms of the love story. The story itself was done, but that tiny "little" thread that was left hanging loose? I don't like it.
If there was a way to be sure that Kristin Cashore would write the rest of Bitterblue's story (and I can see how she might as there were thousands of possibilities open at the end of the book), then I guess it wouldn't be so bad. Being the way it is (3 years between Fire and Bitterblue, and Bitterblue giving Cashore so much trouble to write), I'm not optimistic.
In the end, 5 for story, 3 for romance, and I have to cut half a star for the cliffhanger. ( )
  rachellimalopes | Oct 27, 2014 |
Not anywhere close to as good as the first books in the series. I was very disappointed with the 'blah' plot, but the author still writes well. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Read my full review here.

I was very much looking forward to reading this, mostly because I knew that Katsa and Po would be featured and I dearly adore them.

Bitterblue seems like a more intimate novel since we spend so much time in Bitterblue’s head as she struggles with being a queen, with growing up, with finding love, and with missing her loved ones. She’s such a dynamic, complex character. She’s mature in some ways, immature in others. She’s curious about love and having a lover, so she’s exploring what is means to be a woman. She’s also incredibly feisty (which is equally wonderful and hilarious to read). She’s a strong woman with an incredibly difficult job.

Saf is quite the character, and I liked him despite his rather prickly behaviour for a good portion of the novel. The love between Saf and Bitterblue grows out of friendship, and it’s quite lovely how close they are and how much they care. I have hope that they’ll somehow have a happy life together as more than secret lovers.

What’s so lovely is that we get to spend time with all of our favourite characters from the previous books in the series. Katsa is back, and while she comes and goes in the book, she’s as wonderful as ever. And her interactions with Po are a treat because I love them as a couple. Raff and Bann are also back, and super adorable. While I didn’t like Giddon in Graceling at all, the character has obviously grown off the page in the years between Graceling and Bitterblue. We also learn a bit about what happens with Fire and Brigan after the events of Fire I love that they got married and are a happy, beautiful family.

Rather than having one set antagonist, the antagonist was a number of people, and the memory of all that Leck has done. The antagonist is also, as always, the doubt and insecurity the protagonist faces.

Overall, Bitterblue is an amazing finale to the trilogy. The book is filled with strong female characters, deals with so many important themes and subjects, and is also a great fantasy novel. ( )
  CaitlinAC | Aug 10, 2014 |
Bitterblue is eighteen and the queen of an entire country. Her days are filled shuffling endless stacks of paper. One night she decides to sneak out of the castle and see what her kingdom is really like. She discovers that people are still recovering from her father’s reign of terror, but things are worse than she thought.

She meets a pair of boys who work at a printing press. Are they thieves? What are they up to? They have many secrets, but she’s not exactly honest with them either, pretending she’s only a baker in the castle’s kitchen.

In a world with Graceling magical powers, Bitterblue is just a normal girl. She might be a queen, but I wish she had some sort of special ability. The plot felt more like a mystery than a fantasy and a rather predictable one at that. All of the excitement with the council takes place off page in this book, because like the first two books, it’s told from a single viewpoint. I wished we could go with Katsa and Po instead of being stuck in the castle with Bitterblue.

The high point of this book is seeing the old characters from Graceling, particularly Po. I liked Bitterblue in Graceling, but sometimes in her own book she grated on my nerves. She seemed stronger as a kid. I understand she went through a lot, but she was constantly breaking down and crying on someone’s shoulder. Her life in the castle was dull and frustrating, which makes for a rather boring tale.

Like Fire (where I kept reading to see how Fire would win Brigan over) I kept reading Bitterblue to see how her friends would find out she’s actually the queen. Unlike Fire the revelation wasn't a disappointment and was probably my favorite part of the book.

The author ties the books together nicely, but I wanted an epilogue to tie up all the loose ends. Maybe the author wanted to leave it open for another book.

The best part of the book was the glossary. (Odd, but true.) It’s ‘written’ by the librarian in the book Death (pronounced like Teeth). I wish the rest of the book was told with such a good voice! I chuckled a couple of times while reading it and not at all during the third book.


Throughout the entire book we’re present for the friendship then romance between two characters. At the end it seems like a waste of all this effort that they don’t wind up together. I realize this is realistic, but it’s sad that she winds up alone even if there are hints of something else.


If you’re one of those ‘show’ don’t ‘tell’ people the first two books will annoy you. The author tells a lot and it feels like we’re missing some good stuff that happened. By Bitterblue the author’s figured out how to tell a story, she still tells how time passes, but unlike the first two books the telling flows naturally.

Overall I don’t really recommend the Graceling books. They don’t live up their excellent premise. If you’re curious, I’d say read the first half of Graceling. Literally at 50% on my kindle is when it goes downhill. (Or uphill as they’re climbing a mountain.) Whatever you make up in your head for the rest of the book will be better than what happened in my opinion, though I doubt I could ever read half of a book.

Graceling- 7 Stars (First half 8 stars, second half 6)

Fire- 6 Stars (Same, First half 7 stars, second half 5)

Bitterblue- 6 Stars (whole book consistent) ( )
  mollymortensen | Aug 5, 2014 |
this is one of the most dark, twisted and evil books I've read. ( )
  lyssa73 | Aug 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kristin Cashoreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elbrick, XantheNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kelly, JenniferDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoenherr, IanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This one was always for Dorothy
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When he grabs Mama's wrist and yanks her toward the wall-hanging like that, it must hurt.
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Book description
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.
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Eighteen-year-old Bitterblue, queen of Monsea, realizes her heavy responsibility and the futility of relying on advisors who surround her with lies as she tries to help her people to heal from the thirty-five-year spell cast by her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities.… (more)

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