Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue was only ten when she inherited the Kingdom of Monsea from her father, King Leck, and became queen. In most cases, it’s difficult for a child to rule—for Bitterblue, it may be impossible. Bitterblue has inherited a broken kingdom. Monsea has been destroyed for 35 years by King Leck himself—a psychotic madman who kidnapped, tortured, and murdered his subjects, then covered his crimes with lies and mind control.

Eight years after King Leck’s death, 18-year-old Bitterblue rules over the broken kingdom her father left behind. Her advisors are men who suffered under King Leck and now must help Bitterblue put the broken pieces of Monsea back together. But are these men capable of helping her? Her advisors can’t deal with the past so they decide to move forward—pardon all crimes committed during Leck’s rule and forget that anything bad ever happened.

Bitterblue agrees to their new policy until she begins to realize that she can’t rule inside the isolation of her tower walls. She must walk the city of her people, see life through their eyes, and uncover the secrets that still lie in the shadow of the streets…and inside her own castle. Bitterblue makes a decision to see her kingdom. And she sneaks out into the night in disguise.

Cashore’s Bitterblue follows her novel Graceling and its companion novel, Fire. As Bitterblue’s book jacket explains, you don’t have to read Cashore’s first two books to enjoy Bitterblue, but this reviewer strongly recommends that you do. And you won’t be disappointed! Cashore’s books take you into a richly drawn fantasy world made of kingdoms brimming with political intrigue, scheming rulers, battling soldiers, love, and loss. Bitterblue, like Cashore’s other female characters, is a smart, brave, and compassionate young woman—and she must be. The world Bitterblue lives in is full of danger and things aren’t what they seem—the perfect mixture for an amazing book.

Review by Erin, CLP-Allegheny

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