Author: Kristin Cashore
First published May 1, 2012
576 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780803734739 (ISBN10: 0803734735)
Bitterblue, now Queen of Monsea, thought her kingdom was at peace after being saved from the tyrannical rule of her father, King Leck. However, she soon realizes that her father’s influence still lingers, as her advisers push for a plan to pardon those who committed atrocities during his reign and erase the country’s dark history.
Curious and disguised, Bitterblue ventures into the streets of her city, only to discover that her kingdom has been under the spell of madness for thirty-five years. In a quest to uncover the truth of her father’s reign, she crosses paths with two thieves who have the power to change her life forever.
As she unravels the past, she also discovers unexpected feelings for one of them, who may hold the key not only to the truth but also to her heart.
About the Author
Kristin Cashore spent her childhood in the countryside of northeast Pennsylvania. She was the second of four daughters.
She completed her bachelor’s degree at Williams College and earned a master’s degree from Simmons College’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. She now resides in the Boston region.
“Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore is a stunning addition to the fantasy genre. Cashore has crafted a novel that expertly weaves twists and turns while exploring themes of power, trauma, and identity.
This young adult novel published on May 1, 2012 has certainly captured the hearts of many readers. The book is set in the same universe as Cashore’s previous novels, “Graceling” and “Fire,” but takes place eight years later, and we follow Princess Bitterblue as she takes the reins of her kingdom.
She begins to uncover the harmful secrets left behind by her father’s reign, which leave scars on her people and force Bitterblue to question who she can trust. Cashore has a skill for creating vivid and dynamic characters, and “Bitterblue” is no exception.
Bitterblue is multifaceted character who is trying to maintain power while also healing the wounds of her kingdom. Cashore also expertly introduces a wide variety of characters, each with their own motivations and secrets, adding depth to the world Bitterblue is navigating.
The world-building is also something to be admired in “Bitterblue.” Cashore expertly balances the fantastical elements of the story with the harsh realities of the world she has created. The challenges that Bitterblue must face in healing her kingdom feel real and relevant, and the way that Cashore incorporates themes of trauma and healing into the story resonates on a deep level.
However, the novel does have some weaknesses. The pacing of the novel can be slow at times, and those looking for a fast-paced action novel may be disappointed.
Additionally, some of the reveals in the story may come off as predictable to more astute readers. Despite these minor criticisms, “Bitterblue” is an exceptional novel that is not to be missed.
Cashore’s beautiful prose combined with her ability to tackle complex themes make for an enriching reading experience. Anyone who is a fan of young adult fantasy, or anyone looking for a thought-provoking read, will greatly enjoy this book.
Overall, “Bitterblue” is a masterpiece that should have a place on everyone’s bookshelf. The way that Cashore expertly crafts her characters, world-building, and themes make this a stunning addition to the world of YA fantasy.
I rate this book 4.5 stars out of 5.