Barbara's Reviews > Bitterblue

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
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May 28, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: abusive-relationships, art, bullies, community, cutting, death, depression, families, fantasy, friendship, literacy, mysteries, ncbla2013, reading, romance, strong-women
Read in May, 2012

I have been dying to get my hands on this book since I loved the author's earlier books, Graceling and Fire so much. Like so many other readers, I hope that she will return to this fascinating world she has created for the three titles. I was not disappointed by the book at all, and it was certainly worth the wait. For those who haven't read the other two titles, you'll enjoy this one so much more and understand its characters and various references if you read them first. The story revolves around eighteen-year-old Bitterblue who now rules the kingdom of Monsea after being rescued from her abusive and mind-controlling father by Katsa. One of the best lines in the book is, indeed, the first one ("Queen Bitterblue never meant to tell so many people so many lies" (p. 11), which is downright chilling, given her father, Leck's talent in bending the truth and persuading anyone he meets to believe his version of the truth. At first, I worried that Bitterblue would turn out to have the same grace her father had, but that doesn't end up to be the case. Instead, the plot involves her growing awareness that something is very wrong with her kingdom and that she may not be able to trust the advisors she's relied on since her father's death. She decides on some risky behavior and leaves the castle in disguise to see if she can learn more about her subjects. After all, shouldn't everything be going well not that the spell her father cast on the kingdom has died along with him? Why are her advisors so overprotective? Her nightly journeys introduce to men and women who know parts of the truth, and Bitterblue will have to put all the puzzle pieces together. Unfortunately, what she learns prompts her to question the loyalty of just about everyone around her as well as her own ability to lead the kingdom well. I loved the passages revolving around Death, the Royal Librarian, and his cat Lovejoy, as well as those in which Po and Katsa reunited so passionately while Bitterblue watched, felt somewhat left out, and ached for someone of her own. The depths of her father's brilliance and depravity are made even clearer in this title after being hinted at earlier. This book is magical, disturbing, hopeful, and inspiring as various characters from the earlier books move through its pages. Bitterblue's own growth makes sense, given her circumstances, and her vacillation from despair and hope as she learns the truth about many of those around her seems highly likely. This is world building at its best.
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message 1: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Smiles DO you and DOnalyn think the NCBLA should make this an "All Read," or does it not quite fit the criteria?


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