Hello my lovelies! Today we are talking about the sequel to Graceling and companion novel to Fire by Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue. While you can read Fire without reading Graceling and vice versa, you HAVE to have read BOTH to really understand Bitterblue. I’m not sure why I have such a hard time talking about Kristin Cashore’s books, but I do so bear with me! Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is Queen of Monsea. And her advisors have taken over trying to move past the violent reign of her psychopathic father leaving Bitterblue feeling quite out of the loop in her own kingdom. So she decides to take matters into her own hands and starts sneaking out of the palace in disguise. Now I don’t know if I was just expecting too much from this book because I worshipped Graceling and loved Fire, but this book really fell short for me. If you haven’t started this series 100% read Graceling, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are a little more patient check out Fire as well but I’d say leave it at that. This book is incredibly slow and although it does pick up right at the end it’s definitely not in the same league as Graceling and Fire. Spoilers past this point!
Bitterblue. I liked her so much better as a child. She was smart, she was brave and she had some real queen potential going on! At the end of Graceling when Katsa killed King Lack and Bitterblue stands up and says “I’m Queen now, she did the right thing so you all can back off!” I was so proud of her! I was so confident that Monsea was going to be in great hands with her as leader. And in this book, it was one, huge, long “Dear Lord, what the f*** are you doing now?!” This is how I felt about her for the ENTIRE book!
She didn’t get better really. Maybe after Fire randomly shows up (which was really shakily done, trying to mix the two, I wasn’t impressed) then for the last few chapters she’s better. But not by all that much. She still lost that brave, natural leadership she had in Graceling as a child.
Katsa and Po are used almost as a comic relief though out this book which is so out of character, I hated it. Every time they come together their relationship is almost held up to ridicule it bugged me so much because they’re relationship was so perfect in Graceling. Saf and Bitterblue’s relationship seemed rushed and forced. I would much rather them just being friends instead of trying to drag in this romance that just didn’t fit.
While mystery is not my favourite genre, I do like mystery in the novels I read. And Bitterblue had the basis for a great mystery. Who’s the betrayer? What’s really going on here? That kind of thing. But this book executed it brutally! I just found myself being annoyed and frustrated. People’s actions didn’t – and still don’t – make sense. It’s like everyone was on crazy pills and acting totally at random. The last 50-100ish pages where everything was being explained was very messy but I was mostly just thankful to have at least SOME clarity although the whole situation is still very unstable and filled with holes.
My favourite character has to be Bitterblue’s healer, Madlen. I really liked how she was a spy and a healer who actually did care about Bitterblue and the kingdom. She was really believable as a healer first and a spy second. And she brought some much needed sanity to the book.
Overall this book was a bit of a disappointment. Although there were parts I liked, even loved, the vast majority was too random and illogical and therefore frustrating. Those are my thoughts on the book. Bye for now!