Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Eight years have passed since Leck's death and Bitterblue is now the Queen of Monsea, surrounded by her father's former advisers and burdened by paperwork and tasks she doesn't quite understand. She begins sneaking out of the castle and learns that her kingdom is not what she thought it was. In her explorations, she meets two thieves who will change her life forever.

Don't read further if you want to be completely unspoiled!

Bitterblue is the novel I have been anticipating most this year (and for the past three years), so I threw myself a mini parade when I learned I would get to read it early. It was worth the wait.

Kristin Cashore does something different with this novel; both Fire and Graceling are written from the perspective of a Graced character, someone with a special skill that sets them apart. Bitterblue is not Graced, although the majority of the people in her service are. After being so interested in these special talents, it was interesting for me to consider what it would be like to try to rule a kingdom full of Graced citizens. Short answer: it's difficult. Bitterblue is confined to the castle for most of the book, which is a change from the previous novels which change location frequently. At times, it is frustrating to wait for the Gracelings to go off on adventures and make the discoveries on Bitterblue's behalf. I wonder if Cashore did this intentionally, to make the reader empathize with the protagonist. A few of these scenes could have been edited out, without doing any damage to the book, particularly ones that lead to a reveal that anyone who has read Fire already knows.

Fans of the series will be happy to encounter favorites like Katsa, Po, Giddon, and Fire in this novel. There's never enough Po for me! It also continues the tradition that people who love each other might not necessarily always be together. Cashore's work touches on modern topics like birth control and same-sex relationships and sets them in a fantasy world, perhaps making them easier to talk about for young readers who have questions.

Cashore has said that she has ideas for a fourth book in this series, which comes as a relief to me. This is a world where I want to continue to immerse myself. Hopefully, I won't have to wait three years before I can do it again.


No comments:

Post a Comment

What say you?