I recently bought Bitterblue and what a beautiful book it was! The illustrations and maps were fabulous and the pages were so thick and creamy! But putting to the side all of my fantasies, the story was what really got my attention, even though it doesn’t look like it.
Continually on from Graceling (I skipped Fire altogether since I didn’t really like the sound of it), the story sets on from the character of Bitterblue, the daughter of the mad King Leck who terrorised the plot in Graceling, and is now thankfully dead. However, Kristin Cashore has made it so that King Leck had left behind many legacies behinds such as a broken kingdom.
‘Leck is dead. But if Leck is dead, why isn’t it over?’ -Bitterblue
That isn’t the perfect quote that I had wanted, I had something in mind but after flipping through half of the book and still couldn’t find it, I gave up.
The story disappointed me in some ways. It hadn’t made me disappointed hugely and brashly, but I had felt it had centred too much on Leck and his piece of mind. While all the characters in the book were trying to figure Leck out, I thought that the book had far less centred on Bitterblue, rather the whole book was focused on her overcoming the influence of her father and his grip on the kingdom and help start a new Monsea. In the end, there wasn’t even a proper explanation for Leck’s madness, only passing it off as his mind being too deep and crazy to understand. However, I admire Kristin Cashore’s bravery as she tries to write Bitterblue with a deeper depth then Graceling, she has not entirely explored everything and I know she will do a better job next time because of the experience.
However, the book had its own perks as well. Other than the disappointment of lack of explanation to Leck’s madness, the book at the end hints at a new kingdom, over on the other side of the mountains. This is also very quickly explained in the last part of the book and I felt that the storyline would’ve been better if the new kingdom had been introduced more inside the main grip on the story. I enjoyed reading from Bitterblue’s a perspective, a person who is indeed not graced with powers and struggles with her responsibilities as queen. If I ignored the disappointments at the end, it was one of those endings that I can describe as NO-IT’S-NOT-MEANT-TO-END-THAT-WAY while marvelling how bittersweet and right it is. Crazy, I know, but books can have these kinds of endings.
Overall, Bitterblue is an ok read, a pretty good ending to Kristin Cashore’s first ever series of books. (I’m pretty sure it’s the last book, although some other sequel might pop out of somewhere and prove me wrong!)