Lea (drumsofautumn)'s Reviews > Bitterblue

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
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it was amazing
bookshelves: more-than-just-a-book, favourites, top-books-of-2013
Read 2 times. Last read December 21, 2016 to January 8, 2017.

First read in German in April 2013, these are my thought after rereading it in January 2017.

Alright, it's absolutely no secret that I love the Graceling Realm trilogy and this book in particular. Rereading this trilogy has been one of the greatest experiences ever because it made me realize just how much I love everything about these books.

Bitterblue is especially wonderful because it brings together all of our beloved characters. It makes me so happy to see them all interact together, to see their strong bounds. In general I just love Bitterblue's relationships with her family, friends and also advisers. Especially how intimate some of her friendships with some men are, without ever implying anything romantic between them. We need more male/female friendships portrayed like that in YA.
But also the romance in this book is so wonderful and subtle. It's so far from many other YA romances where it's the situation of “I'd die for you, I can't live without you, I'd give up anything for you.” Neither of the characters included in the main romance ever forget their important tasks and that they are needed by other people. They get off track, they are sad or worried about the other person but they don't drop everything for their love interest.

I think the use of basically no tropes (as far as I can tell) is what makes this book most wonderful to me. It's what makes the friendships, the romance, just the characters in general so great to read about. Never once am I annoyed at any of them for doing stupid, not understandable things. There's no love triangle, no pretty dresses trope, no insta-love, no chosen one and even the little instances of characters lying to each other make ACTUAL SENSE and are not used just to frustrate the reader!

I even love the slow pacing in this book. This is a book of over 500 pages that I never, not on one single page, get tired of. I love all the little adventures Bitterblue has, the political intrigue, the mystery that takes so long to get solved. All the times Bitterblue spends in the library, the kitchen or anywhere else in her castle, simply to find out more about how the people around her live and work. The way Cashore portrays that Bitterblue is a queen that is kinda ignorant and oblivious to some of the things going on around her BUT throughout this books is open and willing to learn about all of it is wonderful.
In general I love the way Bitterblue develops as a character. She had to grow up fast to be a queen and has always taken this responsibility very serious. She loves her kingdom and the people in it but she is so removed from the actual people living in her kingdom. The journey Bitterblue goes on in this book does not only make her a better, more understanding person but also a greater queen.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the main villain of the story. I know many people find it weird that Leck, while being dead for over eight years, is still the main villain of the story. But I think it shows what a powerful and horrible King Leck really was. This book doesn't need a new villain. The old one is still present enough, haunting everyone and it makes sense. Introducing a new villain is in no way necessary, the few, “smaller” antagonists that we have throughout the story are more than enough to keep the story going. I think everything else would have undermined the power and influence Leck had on EVERYONE in his kingdom. The first two books are just not enough to even slightly grasp the power and influence Leck really had!

I also love how Cashore includes diversity in this book in particular. There are two same sex couples in this book and it's never really mentioned as problematic, except for when it comes to royalty and heirs, although it is mentioned as something that's gonna be changed in the future (it's just that in the particular kingdom where this is an occurring situation, the current king is an asshole).
Also Cashore always takes care of mentioning contraception in everyone of these books, which is also something we need more often in YA. Especially in Fantasy where there's no condoms or any other modern forms of contraception, authors like to act as if it's not an issue in these worlds. Cashore handles it subtly but as a reader you always know it's taken care of.

I guess it's clear from all of this how much I love this trilogy and would recommend it to everyone. I will recommend it till the end of my life. I think there's no YA Fantasy that you can compare to this. It is one of a kind. Unique but so simplistic. This trilogy will forever have a huge place in my heart and I'm forever thankful for discovering it.

Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)
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Quotes Lea (drumsofautumn) Liked

“Bacon improved things dramatically.”
Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue

Reading Progress

April 9, 2013 – Started Reading
April 9, 2013 –
page 83
14.64% (Other Hardcover Edition)
April 11, 2013 –
page 192
33.86% (Other Hardcover Edition)
April 14, 2013 –
page 287
50.62% (Other Hardcover Edition)
April 16, 2013 –
page 442
77.95% "Ahhh it's just really great!!!" (Other Hardcover Edition)
April 17, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 21, 2016 – Started Reading
December 21, 2016 – Shelved
January 5, 2017 –
page 307
53.3% "I love this so muuuuuch"
January 7, 2017 –
page 401
69.62% "I have so much love for this book, the characters, the world. I'll never get enough of it!"
January 8, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie oh wow I've been thinking about this series for a while but your review really has me wanting to pick it up!

Lea (drumsofautumn) Katie wrote: "oh wow I've been thinking about this series for a while but your review really has me wanting to pick it up!"

ahhhhh yay!!!! and Melanie recently read Graceling and really loved it too, if you needed any extra endorsment :D

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