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Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

By Literaryexploration @Lit_Explorer
Review: Bitterblue by Kristin CashoreBitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Expected Publication Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Dial
Page Count: 545 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Book Club
* This is the third book in the Graceling Realm series. If you have not read the first two books in this series my review may contain spoilers! *
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.
I absolutely adored both Graceling and Fire, but Bitterblue was so much of a disappointment, I don't even know what to say about it. I feel like Cashore spent so much time writing this one that she forgot about how beautiful and exciting her first two books were. Bitterblue is incredibly whiney and dependent on everyone around her (nothing like the fierce heroines of the first two books) and because she's always confused, I was always confused. I've spent the last 3 years or so impatiently waiting for a third installment in this series, and it was not worth the wait at all. This book is way too long and could have been so much better if it had been edited down and didn't involve so many plot twists.
There are way too many characters to remember in this book, and the only ones I genuinely enjoyed reading about were Katsa and Po. I fell in love with Katsa and Po in Graceling and I really wish there was more of them in Bitterblue. Bitterblue is one of the worst heroines I've read about in a long time. I understand that she's inherited this grief stricken kingdom that's slowly coming out of Leck's reign, but she doesn't seem to do much for herself. She basically relies completely on her advisors (who were once Leck's advisors) to tell her anything and everything about her kingdom, and they do a horrible job. I have to admit, she's a pretty terrible queen but she doesn't do a lot to fix that. And she's always calling on Po or other people to help her out of sticky situations rather than handling things herself which really rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, I loved how independent and fierce Katsa and Fire were in their books, and Bitterblue is nothing like them!
The writing itself is really incomplete and confusing at times. I wonder if Cashore meant for the book to be written with a sort of confusing plot line, because Bitterblue is so confused, but either way I didn't enjoy it. I was constantly having to backtrack and at some points I just felt like I had no idea what was going on or how the characters got from one place to another. Story lines became jumbled in my mind and I started forgetting who was supposed to do what, and who was who, and who was someone else, and why they were going here or there... see... confusing! I just feel like there was so much hype surrounding this book and it fell short on so many levels.
While Graceling was an amazing beginning and Fire had me burning for more, Bitterblue fell short in so many ways. I just had too many problems with this book to really enjoy it the way I wanted. I put it down more than once to pick up something else, and sometimes I even dreaded having to go back to it. I'm glad I finished it, because there were some amazing parts in the end, but overall I don't think this book was really worth the month it took me to read it. If you loved Fire and Graceling as much as I did then you might be a tad disappointed with this one. I really wish Kristin Cashore would write a continuation of Katsa and Po's story!!

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