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Bitterblue (Graceling) by Kristin Cashore
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1,3511285,697 (4.09)216
Title:Bitterblue (Graceling)
Authors:Kristin Cashore
Other authors:Ian Schoenherr (Illustrator)
Info:Dial (2012), Hardcover, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:ARC, read in 2012, sff, ya

Work details

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

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English (129)  German (2)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Slightly different than Cashore's usual style, but just as enjoyable and interesting. Once again, I'm impressed by Cashore's ability to create different and unique narrators that are still easy to connect with and care about. ( )
  Tigerlily12 | Jul 9, 2014 |
This is the sequel to Graceling and a companion book to Fire. On the surface this is an action, adventure, fantasy. However, it is more than that. This is a story about a woman learning to be a good ruler. It is a story about collective memory and collective guilt. It is about how a country deals with itself when it knows that tremendous wrongs have been done and doesn't know how to right them.

At the same time that these large issues are being dealt with the author also continues building the fantasy world of the Seven Kingdoms. Many readers might be dissapointed in this book as there is less action in it than in the previous titles. However, it is clear that the book is laying the foundation for books to come in which the world of the Seven Kingdoms will be greatly expanded. ( )
  benitastrnad | Jun 23, 2014 |
Note: As it says on the cover, this book is the sequel to book one of the Graceling Realm series, Graceling, and a companion to book two, Fire.

Goodreads Blurb:
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 . . .

Bitterblue began her reign as the Queen of Monsea under tremendous strain, having just experienced a phenomenally harrowing escape engineered by Katsa. They traveled by paths no person has ever attempted and survived to tell the tale. All that running and hiding only to discover they've been beaten in the race. She became Queen moments after watching Katsa kill her psychopathic father, King Leck.

Yet even with the help of her Lienid uncle, King Ror, Bitterblue feels lost. At the advice of her uncle she retained her father's top four advisors to assist her. They are to stay at least until she found her own way, or longer should she be happy with them. However recently she's been unhappy with almost everyone. For she's discovering that more and more of her 'trusted' advisors have been lying to her, feeding her misinformation, hiding crucial information and possibly even destroying it. Some may be going so far as to have people killed to keep them from revealing certain information to her. And it's always information about what happened during her father's reign of terror. It almost seems as if his reign of terror still isn't over, even though he's been dead for eight years.

With the help of her friends, Prince Po, Katsa, Helga, Giddeon, Bann and Prince Raffin, Bitterblue begins to learn the truth about what is actually happening in her kingdom. But they also have their Council work in Nander and Estill, so they come to help when they can. So she's begun sneaking out at night, alone and in disguise, to learn what she can on her own. And what she's learning is that she's being lied to. The question is, how high up the chain of command do the lies come from?

Then there is Saf, a Lienid that Bitterblue meets in a story room that she literally stumbles into. She meets Saf and Teddy there and begins to develop a friendship, but an uneven one because she simply can't reveal who she is, and they don't recognize her when her face is exposed. They name her Sparks and slowly bring her into their circle of friends, which mostly just consists of the two of them as well as Saf's sister Bren, and her lover and Teddy's sister, Tilda. When Saf discovers who Sparks really is he's livid, so angry that when he storms from her rooms he steals something important. Important enough that it is considered an act of treason, which is a hanging offense should the theft be discovered.

Eventually Bitterblue does discover just how high the lies actually go, and when they began. What she learns devastates her. Add to that what she has learned from her father's secret journals, and she's not sure the kingdom can ever be made whole again. At least she eventually learns why those she trusted lied to her, and finds that she can understand to a degree. But she can't simply ignore what people did even if they were be compelled by King Leck, because the victims - living and dead - have rights as well. She even learns some of what he had planned for her had she not escaped.

Katsa returns from her explorations with a delegation from Dell, including a now much older Fire. It seems that Fire and Brigan have been married for some 48 years. And though Bitterblue is terrified of Fire's power she agrees to allow Fire into her mind, which also answers all kinds of things that Bitterblue never understood about her father. The arrival of the Dellians demonstrates to Bitterblue that King Leck hadn't lied about the fantastical other country he'd been trying so hard to recreate.

What will it mean for Monsea, and the Seven Kingdoms as a whole, now that the Dellians and Pikkians have traveled into their world? Will the more peaceful nations have a positive impact on the Seven Kingdoms, or will they revert to being more warlike to keep from being annexed by the Seven Kingdoms? Will the monsters be able to escape the Dells? So many new questions have been created by answering the old ones. ( )
  Isisunit | May 20, 2014 |
First, I have seen in several places people suggesting that you could read this book without having read Graceling and Fire. That may be true-ish, but I would highly recommend reading them in order: Graceling, Fire, then Bitterblue. Cashore is building a world here, and Bitterblue is really a continuation of that world, and I think it would be a more rewarding read if read in the order published.

My expectations were sky high for this book. I gave it 5 stars, so clearly I was not dissapointed. Cashore is a very good writer and a particularly excelent character builder. I also love that she does not seem possessed with the obsession of abandoning her readers to cliff-hangers as so many current authors feel the need to do. Her books have a begining, middle and ending. A true ending! It is so very satisfying to read a complete book! To have all those loose ends tied up! To not think to yourself every time she publishes a book, "Aw, now I have to go re-read all the previous books so I'm not lost!"

I don't want to say much about the story, but I will mention that is does cover some very disturbing and uncomfortable topics. It is handeled well and I think as long as you go into it knowing that it gets heavy, you will be OK. Although, if you have read the first two, you know by now that Bitterblue's story is bound to be distrubing. Of course, it is quite a beautiful story as well. ( )
  Kanic | Apr 9, 2014 |
I really like this book. Some bad things happen and it’s about the aftermath of even more horrible things, but even though many of the characters are action types (some recognizable from Graceling), the story is actually about thinking and talking. And feeling. It’s about Bitterblue figuring out who she can trust and who is betraying her. About her figuring out what questions to ask - and, perhaps just as importantly, what questions not to ask.

For anyone interested in reading this, it should have trigger warnings attached: there is some pretty disturbing imagery in this book, including references to physical, psychological, and sexual abuses that happened during Leck’s reign. ( )
  bluesalamanders | Apr 4, 2014 |
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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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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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