Ms. Schutte's Reviews > Bitterblue

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
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's review
Feb 23, 2012

really liked it
Read on May 12, 2012

This books felt to me like a real departure from Graceling and Fire. What made her first two books extraordinary in my opinion was how, instead of focusing on the fantasy world and its many complications, Cashore instead zoomed in on the characters themselves. The fantasy world felt like a unique way of looking at and really deeply contemplating bigger identity issues: how to build relationships with people without feeling possessed by them, how to forge your own identity when everyone has already made up their mind about who and what you are, etc. You come to know her characters so well in the book, and that's what drives you forward rather than the world.

But Bitterblue pulls back and focuses on much broader issues. I kept wondering why I didn't feel that invested in the romantic plots, and then realized that it's because you don't actually come to know any of the characters very deeply--even Bitterblue. The book is about the wider issues in the kingdom, and while those are certainly interesting and complicated and devastating themselves, it's not as gripping. You move forward in the plot because you want to understand the puzzles and what's really going on in the castle and outside of it, but not because you have to know what happens to the characters.

The book paints everyone from a distance, and this is particularly true of the appearances by Katsa, Po, Lady Fire, etc. You already know so much about these characters, yet they end up being pretty two-dimensional here, which is disappointing.

Still, this is a superb fantasy novel--just not as great as her other books.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Beth Can't wait to hear what you think!

Gemma i thought that they author didn't do as good as the other books. Just kind of tuned out, but i still liked it, thought not as much as fire

Ms. Schutte Fire is definitely my favorite, too.

Gemma yep. agreed

Gemma just very captivating

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