Genre: YA Fantasy
Date Published: 2012
Number Of Pages: 537 pages
Publisher: Dial Books
Synopsis: In a world where a small percentage of people have an extreme skill called a Grace, King Leck's Grace allowed him to tell lies that everyone believed.
When Bitterblue became queen at ten years old, she thought her father's murder meant the end of his violent, sociopathic influence.
She was wrong.
The intensely anticipated companion to the New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire is even more "rageful, exhilarating, wistful," and romantic. Now eighteen and believing her advisors are overprotecting her, Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle at night to walk the streets of her own city, disguised and alone--risking her life as well as her heart.
★★★★★ and an official favorite!
...for being an excellent conclusion to an excellent trilogy
I've forgotten how dark this book gets.
I definitely love our tiny protagonist, Bitterblue. She's quirky and cute, and able to hold her own in a fight, but also has the huge responsibility of running a broken kingdom and takes that job seriously. Since the previous books had heroines with powerful magical abilities, it was nice to have a character who really only has her wits to work with. I felt like I could relate to her more than I ever could with Fire or Katsa.
The writing, while still fairly simple, is clearly the best of the three books. Kristin Cashore has certainly been mastering her craft with each book. I couldn't put this book down once I got started, and I definitely stayed up way too late to finish it.
The plot and the storyline is what I really want to talk about
(Warning! there be spoilers for the other two books).
In the previous stories, we got a hint of how evil King Leck was. In this story the main driving point of the plot was Bitterblue trying to find out what kind of perverted things Leck did to his people so that she may help them heal and move on. And unfortunately for Bitterblue, we get to find out exactly what Leck did, in detail, and it's not pleasant. It isn't really graphic (thank God), mainly PG-13 material, but still, it makes your blood go cold. This was an interesting and dark path for this story to take, and it made this story hover right in that sweet spot between humorously light and psychologically dark. Graceling and Fire were about love and survival; this book was about finding the truth and learning to cope with it.
Honestly, I thought this book was well-executed, considering the subject matter. It was definitely better the second time around and I feel now that it's a very good story and I certainly want to read it again in the future. If you liked the previous books (and you definitely have to read Graceling and Fire first), you'll certainly like this one too.
Regarding the entire series, I think that this is a trilogy every teenage girl should read. These books are about strong, powerful, and independent young women who clearly don't need to be rescued by a man. I can love these books for that reason alone, but of course there are other reasons too: they're fun, action-packed, and completely worth it.