Bitterblue picks up eight years after Graceling left off, when Katsa and Po rescued Bitterblue from her evil father, King Leck of Montsea. Queen Bitterblue is eighteen now and feels the enormity of repairing and ruling her country after Leck’s perverted reign. All of our friends are back with Po and Giddon having the biggest supporting roles as advisors. The story follows the familiar plot of frustrated royalty sneaking into the city to understand what her subjects are like. Yep, she meets a fella. Saf is a wonderfully likeable and complex love interest who of course feels betrayed when he finds out who she really is. Compared to the fast pace of Graceling, Bitterblue drags at times. Granted Bitterblue has a lot to think about and is juggling the tasks of running a country and figuring out who she can trust and what evils her father committed and the mental scars he left on his subjects, but she does so much pondering about it. There are many details in this book like the maze of the castle, the different codes, sculptures, bridge design, etc. that I didn’t need, but other readers might be fascinated with. In a nutshell, the book is about putting a country back together after a horrible king has been disposed. The author has created a brilliant story platform with the many realms, genuine characters, and the concept of graces and monsters. The possibilities of further stories in the realms are endless.
Galley review Publication date 5.1.12