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.
Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart (GoodReads).
Originality. I now loooooove companion novels and how this book weaves with Fire.Absurdity: 2. Hardly anything comes off as trite or absurd.Great world building. I was bored in Graceling with the kingdom politics, but came around a bit with Fire. The epicness of this world finally impressed itself upon me in Bitterblue and the insane scale of Leck's manipulation was awesome. Was it all planned in Cashore's head in book one!? I gasped out loud as plot links were revealed.
Paranormal Romance: 5. Every guy is a hunk/charm city. From Saf to
Giddeon to my continued love of Po, there is a lot of handsome to choose from. I respect how Cashore builds real relationships that you root for but doesn't just give
in to the reader (I wanted more romance, but I understood that love isn't easy for Bitterblue, being queen and on a mission
for the truth.).
Level of Harry-Potterness: 9. Bad guy Leck is on pare with Voldermort for pure evil. This score mostly reflect, however, the quality of the story and the big questions Cashore raises about grief forgiveness, and knowledge. This book will stick with you.
(Bonus points for amazing illustrations)
Want to know more about this series? See my reviews of Fire and Graceling and Crazy Camper's addendum.