Bitterblue, as you can see is the sequel to Graceling and the companion to Fire.  Remember that Blogger Book Swap we did in the fall?  Well, I chose to send my swap partner, Melissa of Press Play, Graceling because I was so sure she'd love it.  And she did! Whew.
It was then that we decided to read Bitterblue "together."
You can read Melissa's review of Graceling here.  Today she's posting her review for Bitterblue as well, so make sure to go check her post out as well.

So here's my review of Bitterblue...


Bitterblue is the daughter of King Leck, killed by Katsa in Book one.  This is Bitterblue's story of uncovering her father's mysteries while learning to govern a country that has been tormented by an evil king for decades.

First, I should premise by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Graceling and I LOVED Fire.  But what I love about those other two books were not so much in Bitterblue.
In Graceling, I loved the dashing romance and overall kick-assery.
In Fire, I loved the mythical creatures and the war-packed action.
Graceling and Fire have bad-ass heroines who are taking names left and right.
Bitterblue occasionally sneaks out.
See what I mean?

I don't want it to sound like I didn't like Bitterblue. I did like it. I loved reading it, and I'm glad that characters from the other two novels were present throughout this novel too.  It was good to see them again.  They weren't just in it, but they were developing characters with their own story lines.

Bitterblue was just so long.  So much longer than I thought necessary.  The setting hardly ever changed, and I felt like the action was pretty stagnant.  There was a whole lot of character development, mystery solving, inner monologue stuff going on.  I would have been happy with more action and more romance. It was a great novel on it's own, but by Cashore's standards, it's just didn't stack up.

What saved this novel for me was the writing.  Once again, Cashore has proven that she is an extremely talented storyteller.  Her character development is outstanding.  You can tell this is someone who takes her work very seriously and works to create multi-dimensional, realistic, interesting characters.  I love the ideas of Gracelings, so it was, again, very enjoyable to read about them.

I hope that Cashore continues to write novels set in the Seven Kindgoms (come on, Leinid).  I hope she continues to write brave, strong female characters.  I hope there are fantasy-driven action sequences and fairy-tale romances.  I hope there are monsters.

3 out of 5 stars