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Bitterblue (Graceling #3)

[A quick note: This is going to become one of my most recommended YA series. I can’t believe it took me so long to get to it. I don’t think I would have gotten around to reading it had I not purchased this gorgeous Fairyloot hardcover set. I’m so glad I did. And the rumor is that a 5th book might be in the works. YES PLEASE! Go read this series. Really. I think you’ll like it!]

“𝐁𝐮𝐭 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.” —Kristin Cashore

Court intrigue, romance, a queen who sneaks out in disguise to roam her city streets at night. These are just a few reasons to love Bitterblue. First and foremost, this is a quest to find answers within a broken kingdom, a kingdom ravaged by the reign of a tyrant who wrecked his people. Bitterblue is a queen determined to be a truthseeker. She’s determined to escape the false reality painted by her advisers and see her city and her kingdom through the eyes of truth. It becomes her awakening. In so doing, she completes an incredible character arc from an unquestioning, oblivious queen, to a powerful woman who isn’t afraid to use her title to enact the change and healing.

“𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐈 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐈 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐈 𝐝𝐨𝐧'𝐭 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰.” —Kristin Cashore

What can I say? This series gets better and better! I really thought I was going to enjoy Fire the most, but Bitterblue topped it. I suppose it’s because I’m a huge fan of court intrigue. This one delivers.

Cashore has a knack for taking her readers along the same journey as her MC and immersing them in the world. The way information is presented turns her stories into quests. Bitterblue can’t bring about change and healing until she understands how deeply her kingdom was broken. To do that, she must dig into all the atrocities committed by her father. But no one will give her any answers. King Leck’s reign was traumatic. Even mentioning his name makes people around her shut down. How, then, is she to find answers? How can she see past the fog that was created through his mind control?

I couldn’t stop thinking about Bitterblue’s struggles every time I set this books down. For me, that’s really the deciding factor in my five-star-ratings. I was pretty heartbroken at the end of the book, simply because it gave me so many feels and I never wanted it to end.

Ultimately, Bitterblue uses her knack for cyphers and numbers, a habit her mother taught her when she was young, to see past her father’s mind manipulations. Through these codes, she’s able to find clues hidden throughout her castle, in her mother’s embroidery, in journals, in books that were banned. Slowly, she begins to put the pieces together. She begins to see exactly how broken her kingdom really is. It’s an incredible journey of discovery and heartbreak.

The characters in Bitterblue are fantastic, each different and real and fleshed out. We see more of Katsa and Po from Graceling, but we also see Bitterblue all grown up, and a couple of new ones like Teddy and Saf. I adored Teddy and Saf. I loved the relationship that built between Bitterblue and Saf. I was rooting for them so hard. I also appreciated the deep friendship that budded between Giddon and Bitterblue.

This wasn’t necessarily a high-stakes read. Yet, I tumbled into the story and couldn’t get myself out. I longed for reading time whenever I had to set the book down. I formulated my own theories when I wasn’t reading, and all I could think about was how much I was enjoying the story. It stuck to me like glue, and I’m still thinking about it a week later, as I write this review. I’ve definitely found a new favorite in the Graceling series. Read these books, you guys! I love them. 𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟓/𝟓⭐️


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