Jennifer's Reviews > Bitterblue

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
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's review
May 23, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012, fantasy, fiction, teen
Read in May, 2012

If I were to write a single sentence review of "Bitterblue", it would be this: "Bitterblue" is gorgeously written with fantastic characters in an amazing world. Is that gushy enough for you?

Let me start over. I absolutely loved "Graceling", and now I absolutely love "Bitterblue", but for a completely different reason. "Graceling" was fast paced and action packed, but "Bitterblue", on the other hand, is a much slower paced book, and took its time unraveling its mysteries. It's a much more complex and intricate read than either "Graceling" or "Fire", and during a good part of the beginning it felt like one giant puzzle with many interconnecting pieces that I knew connected, but couldn't figure out. While it may have started out slow, it picked up towards the end, and the answers that are revealed are stunning.

Cashore packed "Bitterblue" with a plethora of returning and new characters. I was overjoyed to see Katsa and Po come back, and loved reading about the intensity of their relationship once more. Bitterblue herself was an absolute joy to read. She was plucky, defiant, self-deprecating, and stubborn, yet at the same time regal as the Queen of Monsea, with an underlying core of strength and kindness. She is easily one of more complicated characters to ever have existed, and I loved her for that. There were more than a dozen recurring characters, and Cashore did an amazing job at making each and every one of them unique. I was ecstatic to see Raffin and Bann in this book - they were two of the characters that I wished had more pages in "Graceling". Bitterblue's love interest, Saf, was also a fantastic character; he's reckless and wild, yet gentle and sweet, and although Bitterblue doesn't fully trust him, she loses her heart to him anyways.

"Bitterblue" is a much darker book than either "Graceling" or "Fire", which didn't surprise me since it deals with much of the aftermath that Leck left behind. There were twists and turns that I didn't expect, and the overall tone was so sad and bittersweet that tears came to my eyes at certain parts of the book. My heart broke with Bitterblue as she discovered truths and unraveled the mysteries of her kingdom.

Okay, so how many times did I say the word "love", or "wonderful", or "amazing"? I cannot stop raving about this book. However, a word of caution: if you were a fan of the previous books, I can't guarantee that you'll love this one as much as I did. It is very different from Cashore's earlier books, and it shows her maturation as a writer, but I can see how not everyone would enjoy the direction her writing and books have gone. Nonetheless, it takes a true genius to meld together a fantastical world with an exciting plot, and have many characters that are unique that the readers actually care about.

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