review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
(Graceling Realm #3)
publisher: Dial
release date: May 1, 2012
book links: goodreads / amazon
author links: twitter / facebook / website
source: from publisher for review

from goodreads (edited): 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.

Amanda & Stacy’s thoughts:


Stacy - Bitterblue is the complete opposite of Katsa. She is naive and immature, but has a big heart and truly loves her subjects. She definitely grows over the course of the book. By the end you can tell she will be the type of queen that Monsea needs. She is fair and very forgiving. Though, maybe a little too forgiving at times.

My one gripe is that for a queen that has ruled for 10 years, she knows next to nothing about what is going on in her kingdom. She finally wises up, but it seems to take a while. You would think her uncle would intervene, with her being so young.

Amanda - There were some people that if I had been in Bitterblue’s shoes, I would have had more trouble forgiving.  The things that were done to her advisers were terrible, but in the case of Danzhol, all it took was one person who was slightly off to become more of participant in Leck’s crimes than puppet.  I’m really glad Cashore didn’t go into too much detail about what Leck actually did (and made others do), the implications and hints alone made me sick to my stomach and very, very glad that evil man was dead.


Stacy - Saf is the main love interest. However, his character makes him an unlikely hero. He has one great thing going for him, he is honest. However he is the poster child for immaturity. One act alone causes Bitterblue much headache. He’s smug, has a chip on his shoulder and is always getting beat up. Overall, not a favorite character.

Amanda - I could completely understand the appeal of Saf to Bitterblue.  He has the freedom she longs for, she enjoys arguing with him, and she respects him.  When she and Saf were together, before Saf knew she was the queen, she reminded me a bit of Katsa.  And it’s apparent that Bitterblue really looks up to Katsa and envies Katsa’s relationship with Po.  In Saf, she was getting the anonymity she craved (at least for a while) but a similar balance, relationship-wise, that Katsa has with Po.


Stacy – Giddon is the unsung hero. He is treated with much respect in this book, unlike  in Graceling. He and Bitterblue have a unique relationship; they read together,  they promise to tell each other only the truth and more. He has quite a few scenes with Bitterblue, which makes one wonder where this could lead.

Amanda - Poor Giddon!  He loses his land, him home, his title, and all because he was being loyal to the cause of the Council.  I also really respected his reaction to Po finally telling him the truth about his Grace.  (Although later on I kept thinking, “Why is everyone hitting Po?  Leave the guy alone!”)  I really do like the character of Giddon and I wish we could have looked more closely at his relationship with Bitterblue…but then again, I’m thinking that might be saved for another book.

XOXO & peace,
stacy and amanda 

One Response to “review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore”

  1. Sue says:

    10 years is a long time to be under the thumb of her advisors, but Bitterblue reminded me of a quote from Lois McMaster Bujold: “Adulthood isn’t an award they’ll give you for being a good child. You can waste… years, trying to get someone to give that respect to you, as though it were a sort of promotion or raise in pay. If only you do enough, if only you are good enough. No. You have to just… take it. Give it to yourself, I suppose. Say, I’m sorry you feel like that and walk away.”

    If you think about it in those terms, Bitterblue is a speed demon for getting there at 18.

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