A couple of weeks ago, Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore‘s latest novel in the Graceling Realm series, was released. Luckily for me I had read the first two novels the week before, so everything was nice and fresh on my mind. I was hoping this book would be as good as the first two and all my hopes were met.
It is set 8 years after the events in Graceling – Bitterblue is now 18 and queen of Monsea. She is however, discovering that there are still remnants of her father’s terrible 35 year reign, lingering in the people of her country. She takes it upon herself to discover what her people are truly like and in the process she uncovers a mystery that runs right through her country and into those closest to her.
I found this book to be rather darker than Graceling and Fire. There is more death and the way that these deaths occur is anything but pretty. The book also seems to touch a lot more on things that are “touchy” subjects in our own world – first and foremost, the debate over same-sex marriages/relationships. While there is no great debate over the subject in this book, it is obvious that it is almost a taboo subject. I am glad that Cashore has woven this topic into the story. It makes it easier to relate with some of the characters, to realise that although they all live in a fictional world, they have all the same issues as we do. It shows all the young people reading this book that love is love.
Without giving too much away, Cashore has done a fantastic job of bringing together the storylines of Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue. Make sure that you read the first two books though before picking up Bitterblue, otherwise it won’t make a lot of sense. Once again, the characters are well written and whole, but I found the storyline to be a little bit predictable at points, but not overly so and there was enough overall mystery and little surprises along the way, that it kept me intrigued. The only thing I didn’t like was it’s somewhat abrupt ending – I got to the end and didn’t even realise, it seemed as though there should have been a little bit more, but oh well.
Overall, an enjoyable read – which is exactly what I was expecting. I hope Cashore keeps writing books based around these characters and this world. I have to admit that I am completely ensnared by this world and I can not wait until there is another story for me to read.
RATING – 8 out of 10.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – obviously people who have read Graceling and Fire. But give it a go as well if you like reading fantasy novels.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – My favourite character was Teddy. Only a minor part in the grand scheme of things, but still a loveable character all the same.