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Eight Years Have Passed Since The Young Princess Bitterblue, And Her Country, Were Saved From The Vicious King Leck Now Bitterblue Is The Queen Of Monsea, And Her Land Is At PeaceBut The Influence Of Her Father, A Violent Psychopath With Mind Altering Abilities, Lives On Her Advisers, Who Have Run The Country On Her Behalf Since Leck S Death, Believe In A Forward Thinking Plan To Pardon All Of Those Who Committed Terrible Acts During Leck S Reign And To Forget Every Dark Event That Ever Happened Monsea S Past Has Become Shrouded In Mystery, And It S Only When Bitterblue Begins Sneaking Out Of Her Castle Curious, Disguised And Alone To Walk The Streets Of Her Own City, That She Begins To Realise The Truth Her Kingdom Has Been Under The Thirty Five Year Long Spell Of A Madman, And Now Their Only Chance To Move Forward Is To Revisit The PastWhatever That Past HoldsTwo Thieves, Who Have Sworn Only To 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, Who Possesses An Unidentified Grace, May Also Hold A Key To Her Heart For those who don t know This takes place 6 years AFTER Graceling s time And Bitterblue was 10 or 11 then, so she s date able age now I betcha there will be romance And just to throw this out there, because I JUST finished Graceling and the feeling is still strong I HATE THIS BOOK Not really, it was fantastically written I just wish the author would continue on with Katsa and Po, the fact she s leaving us hanging over a freaking cliff pisses me off I ve heard of cliffhangers, but at least the author is KIND enough to finish and relieve us But Cashore continues with another person s point of view, and we probably will end up hearing bits and pieces about Po and Katsa s relationship.but not enough I haven t read Fire, and plan on not reading any of this author s books If they are going to leave me this distraught, ready to cry, then I d rather not Some may consider it good when a book makes them cry, but I do not It makes me angry that I could cry over a book, and a tad bit confuzzled Srry bout that Just me raging, please don t take offense or get angry with me if this is your favorite book I m just telling my opinion Thanks UPDATE June 15, 2012 Oh my, I got sooo mad By now I ve read a TON of books where they just dedicate one book to one relationship and move on to another just as quickly So I understand how awesome it is now, because I see some people mentioned in one book and wish the author does a book from their perspective I m not going to read any of this series just because I m not so much into this author any, but I just wanted to point out to those who like romance and will get into those sort of novels, that this happens quite a bit But, when you see them mentioned from another character s POV, you see a sweet couple and it really does them justice REMEMBER this happens quite a bit in romance series Anyways, thanks for those who supported me, it helped me get over the ending which I don t really remember, but I do vaguely recall no marriage..pretty sure and DO NOT get me started on MOCKINGJAY s ending. review in progressReview May 2012 Five stars Four and half Quite possibly my favorite of the trilogy.In running for best read of 2012.Original Thoughts November 2009 I am so surprised by the tremendous backlash against this series arguably non traditional romantic direction And yet the backlash is fascinating I see Katsa painted by some reviewers as man hating because she doesn t want to get married or to have children, which is an interpretation that never dawned on me when I read the book, and I see backlash very vocally continuing with Fire, and this because while Fire wanted to have children desperately, she decided the lineage of human monsters was too dangerous to continue There s backlash for this Really WTF Is it so ingrained in our culture that happy future equals wedding ring pregnancy that a mere story involving a happy future that resulted somewhat differently genuinely makes people angry Well, that reaction to that presentation makes me genuinely angryfix or clarifyI can t believe Katsa s desire not to wed is being interpreted by some as man hating Katsa comes from a society where woman are the legal possessionscheck on this and confirm reread Gracelingof their husbands and fathers, and Katsa herself is the legal possession of the king and has been her whole life Katsa spends a significant part of novel working to gain emancipation and, having gained it, is entirely justified not to wish to put herself back into position of a legal possession under a husband The end of the novel has Katsa inundated with positive relationship with men she actively in love with a man, men are her best and closest friends, and she counts and is counted by men as her strongest allies and yet, because she doesn t want to be a wife and mother, Katsa is man hating Ridiculous.Man, I want to reread Tamora Pierce s Alana books now just for the refreshing taste of having multiple lovers before choosing one to settle down with without shame or backlashHouse Like a Lotus, first experience of the concept of premarital sex That said, I think that Bitterblue will be obligated to both marry and have children and she does head a kingdom and generally one of the responsibilities of a ruler is to produce an heir. As seen on The ReadventurerIt s with a heavy heart that I m giving Bitterblue only 2 stars This book was one of the most anticipated reads of the year for me and will go down my personal history as one of the most massive disappointments It has to be acknowledged, though, that most of the reviews of Bitterblue so far have been very positive and contained words like genius and masterpiece in them My opinion appears to be out of norm.After recently rereading both Kristin Cashore s earlier books, I feel that with each new one she moves away from the simplicity of her debut Graceling and what I personally like to read and in a direction that I can t follow I enjoyed the action romance magic mixture of Graceling and mostly liked Fire, even though some of it was boring and over complicated I m talking about the ball conspiracy scene , but Bitterblue is a completely different beast, a story that is confusing and indulgently long.I ve always felt after finishing Graceling that Bitterblue s story had to be told She carries such a dreadful legacy a deranged, mind manipulating father, a country damaged by the 35 year long abuse by Leck s twisted magic, Bitterblue s own childhood traumas All of this is in the novel.Bitterblue is 18 now, a rightful queen of Monsea, running her kingdom efficiently enough with the help of her advisers who urge her to forget the horrors of the past and look forward But then she starts noticing that there is something really wrong going on around her People act irrationally, they lie about the smallest things, they make no sense She ventures outside the walls of her castle, to meet regular people and to find out the real state of things in her country Bitterblue comes across even odd behaviors and crimes She does her best to untangle the web of lies, puzzles and madnessThe truths Bitterblue uncovers are powerful, and they have to be explored But I feel like Cashore arrives at those truths by a route that is too complicated, convoluted and scattered Too many side plots, too much talk of ciphers and codes, too many characters coming and going, too many illogical occurrences that instead of making the story intricate, end up making it too busy and messy.I am definitely a fan of twisty, complicated plots Bitterblue has that, it strives to be something akin to Megan Whalen Turner s and Melina Marchetta s fantasy novels these three authors appear to draw inspiration from each other s works But whereas I was consumed by Turner s and Marchetta s mysteries, trying to spot what was wrong and who was lying and why and guessing the connections among the characters, reading Bitterblue was mostly a confusing and irritating experience Events and characters in this novel are completely insane They make no sense, they defy logic, they stand out to any person as odd Most of the book I spent repeating Bitterblue s own thoughts What is going on And why is everyone acting so crazyAs a mystery, Bitterblue did not work for me at all Untangling a mystery in which no one even makes an effort to pretend to act normally is too much a challenge for me.There are things I did like in Bitterblue The prologue, containing a scene of Leck mind raping Bitterblue and her mother is, in my opinion, the best piece of Cashore s writing, horrifying and affecting.We also meet quite a few characters from the author s prior novels Many I am sure will be happy to see Po and Katsa again although they seem to be a lot animated than they were in Graceling.And the last hundred pages, where some secrets are uncovered and things start coming together, are much pleasurable to read.But even keeping the positives in mind, I can t say I enjoyed reading Bitterblue It was a challenge, it was a struggle.I am waiting for readers to review the novel to see if there are people out there who share my assessment of it or my reaction to Bitterblue is just a result of a severe case of reader book incompatibility. This book is a narrative about how colonization can fuck you over Starring a biracial and ambiguously queer woman of color, it follows Bitterblue as she tries to bring back the traditions, culture, liberty her dictator father took away from the country of Monsea Along the way, she must come to terms the legacy of a genocidal, terrifying monster as a ruler, one who wiped away every detail of the country and replaced it with his own imagined world But she must also come to terms with the legacy of that monster being her father Never heard it pitched that way before Me neither But I m serious about this, and I m ready to write a serious fucking literary analysis here Good morning, guysBut that s how memory works, Bitterblue said quietly Things disappear without your permission, then come back again without your permission And sometimes they came back incomplete and warped. So, what is Bitterblue about, you ask Well, I don t think it can be fully summed up In one way, it s a mystery Bitterblue spends this book trying to discover what really happened during her father s reign, to both her people AND herself, and what is happening now In one way, it s a character journey Bitterblue s journey of agency and growing up But in another way, it s the journey of a whole world the story of an entire country s journey to free itself from a legacy of colonialism and brutality I ve seen many say they had trouble with this book due to boredom While I found this story incredibly compelling, it should be said that the first half is somewhat slow And yes, there are a multitude of sideplots in Bitterblue, but here s the thing I think the book works because of the pace The slightly slow beginning of the first half is nicely offset by the slow build mystery and character development of the book, and it completely pays off towards the second half And with all these different interlocking plots, the book still feels tied together and coherent Why Primarily because of Bitterblue s character Bitterblue is one of the realest characters I ve ever come across She s not the type of fighter we tend to see in the role of a strong female character, but also not the type of sweet and simpering character we tend to see in weaker female characters Bitterblue is clever, manipulative, and willing to fight for the people she loves, yet is given moments of being reckless, underconfident, and petty This isn t a simple plot device she s sixteen, and the narrative both explores that and lets her be a character beyond it I also adore how her character connects the narrative her inner conflict and outer conflict form a gorgeous map.Hoooooo, boy, so I guess it s time to talk about the narrative now, huh Monsea s dictatorship all but mirrors the legacy of colonial dictatorships It is a world in which a culture of openness, a wealthy economy, and a structure of living tested for years has been completely overturned by a despicable, tyrannical leader, and now the people of the realm must pick up the pieces And it s all the frightening because of the legacy of Leck as a monster who could cloud the judgement of others, he has left the country s old traditions all but forgotten This is something neither Bitterblue nor much of the country has any way of being aware of, especially as the older generation has died out The country s old culture of casual queerness is something few are still aware of The architecture is forever changed Freedom of the press is nonexistent I ve been sitting in front of a computer screen for around ten minutes because I truly do not know how to begin this review This book is so, so deeply important to me, in so many ways I ve read very few books in my life that made me feel every emotion on the spectrum, and this is perhaps one of the best This book is many things, but above all, it s a story of hope a story of joy in the face of so much pain So let s sum it all up Butterblue features a cast of well written, compelling side characters, a hilarious appendix written by an actual character, a cast that is around 70% queer and 90% characters of color, a fucking glorious slow burn mystery, a fucking glorious character arc for a young woman in a tight space, and a narrative around colonialism that sticks out in my mind to this day I cannot get past how much I adore this book Blog Goodreads Twitter Instagram Youtube