Stephanie Griffin's Reviews > Bitterblue

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
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's review
May 10, 2012

really liked it
Recommended to Stephanie by: Grace Troxel
Recommended for: fans of YA fantasy.
Read from July 08 to 30, 2012

I enjoyed reading BITTERBLUE, the YA fantasy written by Kristen Cashore. It is the sequel to GRACELING, which I haven’t read yet but don’t feel that one needs to read before this volume, as BITTERBLUE is fine as a stand-alone.
Bitterblue is the name of the eighteen-year-old Queen of Monsea. She has held this title since the murder of her father, King Leck, about 8 years earlier. As a young adult she is just beginning to understand her role as guardian of her kingdom. She learns that some of her advisors don’t have her best interests in mind. As she weeds out the liars and backstabbers, she finds the first stirrings of romantic attraction to a young thief named Sapphire.

“She gave him her hand. He took it in both of his and set to inspecting it with great deliberation, tracing each finger with the tips of his, examining her knuckles, her nails...”

I was surprised at how engaging this story is. It has a nice tempo and plenty of action. Most characters have their own well-defined personality.
Although I enjoyed the story itself, I really couldn’t stand Bitterblue. She tells everyone at least one secret, making them promise to TELL NO ONE. Does she really believe there are that many honest people? And where has she been for all of her life that she doesn’t know where the KITCHEN is in her own castle?
There are clever ciphers as part of a mystery, which are fun to read about, and who doesn’t love a story that includes a library?

“Now she held it in her hands: the regeneration of a book that introduced some ten or twelve different kinds of ciphers, presenting examples of each, some of which were dreadfully complicated in execution…”

Still, her midnight adventures outside the castle are exciting and the constant flow of cousins and other nobility through the castle is entertaining.
I think my favorite characters are Death (pronounced ‘deeth’) the librarian and his cat, Lovejoy. Death can read super-fast and retain everything he reads. He also has a dry sense of humor that is very much appreciated.

“Death made a small, scornful noise. Then he took Lovejoy gently from Po’s arms, scooped his papers up, and marched away.
“You shouldn’t insult a man’s cat,” said Po mildly.”

If you like YA fantasy this is a fine addition to your collection.
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07/14/2012 page 206
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