Publisher: Dial Books
Source: Won in contest
Release Date: May 1, 2012
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Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.I was a bit hesitant to pick up Bitterblue, knowing that the protagonist was one of my least favorite characters from Graceling. To my surprise, I found that I really liked Bitterblue. She had more depth as a character than I thought possible after reading Graceling! If you, like me, were put off by Bitterblue in the first book, don't let that sway you from reading this YA high-fantasy must-read!
Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
Let's face it: Bitterblue is no short read at 545 pages. At times it progressed a bit slowly for my tastes due to the lack of action. Despite that fact, the fantastic character development kept me hooked. I really respected Bitterblue in this book. She was a strong, fair, and independent queen, even if she didn't see herself as such. Her character grew on me more and more throughout the story. Despite the length and pace of Bitterblue, I was blown away by the depth and feeling of the characters within.
There is a lot of talk of truths and lies in Bitterblue. Like watching a terrible car crash, I couldn't help but be fascinated by the horrible reach of King Leck's grasp. What a psycho!? It amazed me how much of a hold he still had on people, even after his death. Much history is unraveled in Bitterblue, and it is not of a pleasant nature. Bitterblue has to decide whether revealing or covering up that history will be best for her kingdom.
Bitterblue will be a hard book to forget. With an endearing and strong protagonist, this book is a must-read for all high-fantasy lovers!