Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire. 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 35-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.

Dial Books

Find it at WCPL here.



  1. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Cashore, but I was hooked from page one and I am now planning to read Graceling and Fire. The prose was breathtakingly gorgeous and the story was both unique and fascinating. How many books have a villain who is dead throughout nearly the whole novel and still leaves [his] terrible influence throughout an entire kingdom? The concept of Graces was not entirely new to me (think of X-Men, where each “mutant” has its own special ability), but I hadn’t seen it in this setting before, so I’ll excuse it this time.

    Saf and Ted were fascinating to me, as were many of the royal clerks and senators, not to mention the imagery of the kingdom.

    King Leck, though he only appeared in the beginning, was a very unsettling character and had the traits I look for in bad guys – a blend of horrible, despicable evil, and really cool and strange, unnatural powers.

  2. I finally finished the book. Although it was a long, epic read, I stayed up late several nights to finish it. The plot just didn’t stop. You would think with so many characters, it would get confusing, but it did not. Each character seemed to have a separate arc and depth to them. The plot did not get overburdened with all the characters. Bitterblue was an intriguing narrator just because there didn’t seem to be anything “special” about her except for her heart. Usually in a kingdom fantasy like this, the narrator would be a hero type. Although Bitterblue is a hero, she is nothing special on the outside. It is only her love for her people and her care for those she loves that makes her stand out.

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