Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

From the website:

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is queen of a kingdom that was under the spell of a madman for thirty-five years. At eighteen, Bitterblue is still learning how to rule the kingdom. The influence of Leck-a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities-lives on. When Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the cast;e to walk the streets of her own city, she meets two thieves who hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace, holds the key to her heart.

I loved this book. I've always loved Kristin's books, but this one has made me love them even more. I started with her first book, Graceling, and then read Fire, and now Bitterblue. This book was actually a lot bigger than I thought. At 563 pages, it is the largest book in the series. I didn't mind this since I find that usually the larger the book, the better it is (in my opinion). The beginning was really well done and set the scene. Kristin set up Bitterblue City really well as well as the state of Monsea. This certainly took a fair bit of time but, again, I didn't mind. I've read Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and no one can out describe him. While everything was being described, events were happening that were pushing the plot forward so that it never really stood still. Bitterblue was a wonderful character. Seeing how she had changed from the ten-year-old in Graceling to the queen she is in this novel was exciting. She had matured, and she showed it. I also liked that she questioned things; she didn't just sit around and accept things. I think those are the best characters, the ones that don't take anything for granted. That is an especially good characteristic in a ruler, I think. The love story was cute. I was expecting it (since there is a love story in all of Kristin's books) and it happened gradually, just like all the other love stories. I was not expecting to see characters from Fire (I won't name who) and that was a pleasant surprise. It was also good to see characters from Graceling again and where they were in their lives. The plot twist at the end was very unexpected. Looking back on it, there were clues throughout the story and if you picked up on it then you could see it coming. After the death of one character I definitely became suspicious of all the royal authorities. I liked how the story ended. It was very nice and had good closure. The end of the love story was nice too (although I'm sure it didn't actually end, if you know what I mean). Everything came to an end, there were no loose ends, and as the reader gained closure, so too did Bitterblue. The pace of this book was great. It wasn't super fast, but it wasn't slow either, which is always a problem with larger books. Characters were well fleshed and rounded, I found no plot holes, and it all seemed very realistic (minus the whole Graceling thing, and seven kingdoms, and monsters, and . . . I think you get it). This will definitely be a re-read sometime in the future.

Quote of the day: Bacon improved things dramatically. - Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway! I'm giving away Graceling, the first book in this series, along with a few other things.