I love Kristen Cashore!!! She’s the author of Graceling, Fire and now, Bitterblue. It’s a rare writer who can make you laugh through a list of characters and their traits! I especially love that, in her book, the writer of the character biographies is a librarian…named Death! How marvelous!
It’s been 8 long years between Graceling and its sequel, Bitterblue. Fire came in between and quenched my thirst for a bit but 8 years is a very long time to wait for a story to continue. Katsa and Po figure into this story, though Po more than his fiery partner.
Bitterblue has grown from a frightened 10-year-old into a formidable if insecure young woman of sixteen. She is now the queen of a country that has barely survived the horrible brutality of her father, King Leck. She is surrounded by advisers left from his reign who seem to support her but, when she sneaks out into her city, she discovers that things are not as they seem from behind her desk in the castle. That night she finds herself in a pub where there are storytellers. Some of the stories she knows because she lived them but others intrigue her but nothing mystifies her more than a Graced young man who steals from his fellow listeners. His grace is not stealing, though, because Bitterblue catches him at it. Still, he and his friend Teddy come to her rescue later and they develop a cautious friendship. Unfortunately, it’s a friendship built upon lies. There’s no way Bitterblue can reveal that she’s their queen. She needs the information that they bring her about her kingdom, things she needs to fix if she’s to become the queen that her mother believed she could be. The unfathomable horrors that her father inflicted upon his kingdom and his people are not so easy to forget yet that’s exactly what someone seems to be trying to force everyone to do. There is someone who is killing those who speak the truth about Leck and Bitterblue must not only find the murderer but also find a way to discover exactly what her father did so that she can begin to help her kingdom and herself heal.
If you have not already discovered Kristen Cashore, you absolutely must read Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue! There is action, adventure, horror, sadness, grief, budding first love, strong, committed love and so very much more! You will laugh and cry reading the stories of Katsa, Po, and Bitterblue and rail at the terrifying injustices of King Leck.