It’s been eight years since Bitterblue of Monsea ascended the throne. However, the country is still reeling from the effects of the mad and awful King Leck. Bitterblue is trying to make things right, but she finds herself thwarted at every turn. To learn the truth of things, Bitterblue begins sneaking out at night. What she discovers plunges her into a deep struggle.
There were a lot of things I liked about this book. Kristin Cashore is a really great writer, and she knows how to write her characters very well. This is particularly important since so many of the older characters are survivors of Leck’s manipulations; Cashore does a really good job of making them seem human and relatable. I found Bitterblue to be an excellent protagonist. I liked her doubt, her struggles, her brains, and ultimately her inner strength–she is a very three-dimensional character, and I loved reading her story. The supporting cast is excellent, with some old favorites (yay, Katsa and Po!) and some awesome new faces (Madlen, Death, and Hava were favorites).
If I had any complaints, I would say that I did not like Po’s Grace to be so important in some of the movement of the plot. There were definitely instances where I thought there were other ways to move the plot. Bitterblue herself takes a lot of initiative, and there are other ways to reveal Leck’s horrors.
On a side note, I would like to say that I have not actually read Fire; I had difficulty relating to Fire and didn’t bother to finish the book. However, reading Bittterblue made me want to give that book another try. I consider this fact in of itself to be a good recommendation for the book.