Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Genre: fantasy
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 539

Welcome to a glorious realm of mystery, magic, heroism and danger.
In a world where a small percentage of the people have an extreme skill called a Grace, King Leck’s Grace allowed him to tell lies that everyone believed.
When Bitterblue became queen at ten years old, she thought her father’s murder meant the end of his violent, sociopathic influence.
She was wrong.
The intensely anticipated companion to the New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire is even more “rageful, exhilarating, wistful,” and romantic. Now eighteen and believing her advisers are overprotecting her, Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle at night to walk the streets of her own city, disguised and alone—risking her life as well as her heart.

Just for warning: wasn't as romantic as Graceling or Fire. Thankfully, there was some romance, but it wasn't as intense as Katsa's relationship with Po or Fire's. But the lack of romance wasn't the focus of this book. It was about a girl who suddenly realizes that she's not a child anymore and she breaks out of the shell her advisers have placed her in. She takes charge of her life and matures into an intelligent, sensible queen.

Bitterblue is an intricate character who has a unique view of things. Since she was raised by King Leck and witnessed terrible things as far back as she remembers, she's more hesitant to trust. Especially with mind readers. She was also a fiercely loyal friend and relative who wouldn't ever think of hurting anyone close to her. Though she's now the queen, she still has a childish naivete that causes her to cling to the people who've practically raised her because she believes them to be good. When they betray her, they hurt her, but she never stops loving them. Because that's who she is. She's a beautiful, wonderful character, and she belongs right alongside Kristin's other strong heroines.

Overall, this novel was as heartbreaking as it was powerful. A story of growing up and being yourself even when everyone around you seems to be changing. Again, Kristin captivated me with the beautiful scenery of Monsea. Her descriptions of the castle and the city were lovely. She also has a knack for using just the right language so that it sounds authentic but also is readable. I must also mention the lovely (and helpful) drawings in the book. They livened the book up and offered even more visual into Bitterblue's world. I hope Kristin doesn't stop writing because her characters are powerful and her stories are magnificent.

The Cover: I like how the blue refelects her name, and I also like the three separate keys. She's unlocking her past, but she's also literally unlocking all her father's gruesome secrets.

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