Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now Queen of Monsea. However, King Leck’s mind-changing, horrible influence is still felt throughout the kingdom. Bitterblue’s advisors have a forward thinking plan to pardon everyone who committed crimes under Leck’s reign. Basically, forget that Leck’s reign ever happened. Then Bitterblue starts sneaking out of the castle at night in disguise and she realizes that in order to move on from the past, she must discover what the truth of the past.
Review: I read Bitterblue in one sitting from 7pm to 5am. I tried to put it down, but couldn’t sleep soooo…I had to keep reading it. I loved how Bitterblue ended the series, it brought together the companion novel (Fire) and Graceling. Katsa, Po, Giddon all make appearances throughout the book and Fire appears at the very end. There are references to the Dells throughout the book, especially in the Monsea Castle. Almost everything gets tied up in the end, but it leaves room many things unsolved, especially in regards Bitterblue’s love interests.
Bitterblue follows much of the same themes as Fire. Bitterblue is struggling to overcome the legacy left by her madman of a father. However, I liked the complexity and the subplots within Bitterblue better than Fire. Fire still felt very much a love story with a love triangle. However, Bitterblue was a mystery more than anything else and as parts of the past comes out Bitterblue grows as a person and as a leader. She really comes into her own over the course of the book. Bitterblue is a surprisingly relatable character. I found myself being frustrated and scared and happy with her.
My one problem with the novel is that I felt that the sex scene (which was not explicit at all, it is more of a mention) did not fit in with the story or Bitterblue’s character. I felt that it was put in just to have it there. With Graceling and Fire sex was a much more prominent feature and it went with both Katsa’s and Fire’s characters.
If you liked the Graceling Realm Series, try out:
Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series (Greenwillow Books)
Review of The Girl of Fire of Thorns from CSI: Librarian
Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms Series (Disney-Hyperion)
Review of The Demon King from Novel Tease