Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guest Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

I'd like to welcome Audrey Porterman who has stopped by to share a lovely book review she's written for us!

The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

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.

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.

Guest Review by Audrey Porterman.

From Personal Collection

Bitterblue is the third companion novel in a world created by Kristin Cashore. Her three novels are set in the same world, but focus on different characters and different time periods in each novel. Some of the characters do overlap in each of the novels, which adds interest to the books.

Bitterblue is the main character in the book She is the queen of a country that was destroyed by lies and a truly evil king, Leck. Leck was also her father, and she is left trying to help your kingdom heal from the atrocities that her father committed while he ruled over them. She must learn what happened in the past, and what is happening now to have the opportunity to rule over her people.

The story begins with seventeen-year-old Bitterblue sneaking out of the castle to learn more about her city. Bitterblue is an extremely strong character that thinks for herself and is trying to make changes even though she feels trapped by her situation and frustrated by the information that she is feeling. As she explores the city she soon learns that reports she has been getting, and the things that she is finding are in stark contrast with each other. Bitterblue must use her wits to unravel the mystery in the kingdom so that it can have a chance to heal again.

Cashore has created a wonderful world where many of the characters are graced with special gifts or superhuman powers, and her previous two novels focused on characters with these gifts. However, Bitterblue is not graced with special abilities and must only use her wit to survive. This is a refreshing take and it is inspiring to see her figure out the solutions using her own wit and the help and friendship of those around her. Throughout the novel Bitterblue is given the opportunity to form relationships and work with those around her. You can see her growth as a character from the friendships she forms and the decisions she makes as a leader of her country.

This is a powerful novel because it looks at the damage that one corrupt leader can have over an entire nation and how long lasting those decisions may be on future generations. However, it does offer hope by the end of novel, and a chance for Bitterblue and her people to overcome the problems they have faced in the past.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel was the chance to see Katsa and Po from Graceling again in detail. It is nice to see how these characters have progressed from their novel. I really enjoyed the world that Cashore has built, and her prose and descriptions are perfect. This is a fantasy novel, but it should be accessible to most readers because it is not high fantasy. This is considered a young adult novel, but it does have a strong crossover appeal, and all of the adults I have recommended her other books to have enjoyed them. 

★★★★ = Really Liked It

About Audrey:
Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves online english phd programs and criminal justice phd programs.


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