Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore

Synopsis: 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 thirty-five-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. (From Goodreads)

The wait for Bitterblue was so worth it. I've fallen so in love with the world Kristin Cashore has created. Every time one of her stories ends and I'm pulled back out of that world, I mourn a little. I love the Gracelings, but it was really kind of cool that this time around the main character was ordinary. I mean, other than the fact that she's the queen of her own country, she doesn't have a grace like Katsa, and she's not a monster like Fire. She doesn't have any extra power to help her out. Still, she's incredibly smart, she's determined, and she's fierce in her own right. I was really proud of who Bitterblue turned out to be.

Bitterblue has the daunting task of rebuilding her country after her father's destructive reign. Her job is even harder since everyone is still trying to protect her, they keep secrets from her, and most just flat out lie to her. She has this group of people she is supposed to be able to trust, but once she starts seeking out the truth she figures out that there are very few people she can actually rely on. I have to give props to Bitterblue, because she never stopped trying to figure out what was real and what atrocities her father committed - she kept on digging for the truth, even as it got worse and more painful as she went along. She went to extraordinary lengths to right the wrongs of King Leck and to give back whatever had been taken. Some of the passages in which Bitterblue discovers the things her father was up to were some of the hardest things I've read in YA lit, but they're important. That could have easily been glossed over, but Cashore doesn't shy away from the grittier aspects that often get lost in historical record - especially when it's so close that people don't want to remember.

The characters in this book are beautiful. Even the evil ones are written so well. There's motive, history, and futures surrounding each character, no matter how small. Everyone is important and integral to the plot, even if they don't actually make physical appearances. So impressive. I loved seeing Katsa and Po a little bit father down their own story line and seeing that they are still a huge part of Bitterblue's life. I loved Teddy and Saf - the boys she meets in her nighttime wanderings that lead her to story rooms (I loved the story rooms - can we please make these real things?). After she catches them stealing a gargoyle from the castle wall (who steals gargoyles?) I knew they'd have a special place in my heart. Teddy loves words and books, so he's awesome - and Saf has a Robin Hood complex and I love him for that.

The ending wasn't as resolved as I would have hoped. I was let down at the end and I couldn't figure out why it was so unsatisfying. Then I realized it was just because it was over. I don't even think an epilogue detailing the way all the characters end up in the end would have tied it up for me. I want to read Bitterblue's entire life in detail. I never wanted it to end. If I could slip between the pages and disappear into this world, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore

Synopsis: 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 thirty-five-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. (From Goodreads)

The wait for Bitterblue was so worth it. I've fallen so in love with the world Kristin Cashore has created. Every time one of her stories ends and I'm pulled back out of that world, I mourn a little. I love the Gracelings, but it was really kind of cool that this time around the main character was ordinary. I mean, other than the fact that she's the queen of her own country, she doesn't have a grace like Katsa, and she's not a monster like Fire. She doesn't have any extra power to help her out. Still, she's incredibly smart, she's determined, and she's fierce in her own right. I was really proud of who Bitterblue turned out to be.

Bitterblue has the daunting task of rebuilding her country after her father's destructive reign. Her job is even harder since everyone is still trying to protect her, they keep secrets from her, and most just flat out lie to her. She has this group of people she is supposed to be able to trust, but once she starts seeking out the truth she figures out that there are very few people she can actually rely on. I have to give props to Bitterblue, because she never stopped trying to figure out what was real and what atrocities her father committed - she kept on digging for the truth, even as it got worse and more painful as she went along. She went to extraordinary lengths to right the wrongs of King Leck and to give back whatever had been taken. Some of the passages in which Bitterblue discovers the things her father was up to were some of the hardest things I've read in YA lit, but they're important. That could have easily been glossed over, but Cashore doesn't shy away from the grittier aspects that often get lost in historical record - especially when it's so close that people don't want to remember.

The characters in this book are beautiful. Even the evil ones are written so well. There's motive, history, and futures surrounding each character, no matter how small. Everyone is important and integral to the plot, even if they don't actually make physical appearances. So impressive. I loved seeing Katsa and Po a little bit father down their own story line and seeing that they are still a huge part of Bitterblue's life. I loved Teddy and Saf - the boys she meets in her nighttime wanderings that lead her to story rooms (I loved the story rooms - can we please make these real things?). After she catches them stealing a gargoyle from the castle wall (who steals gargoyles?) I knew they'd have a special place in my heart. Teddy loves words and books, so he's awesome - and Saf has a Robin Hood complex and I love him for that.

The ending wasn't as resolved as I would have hoped. I was let down at the end and I couldn't figure out why it was so unsatisfying. Then I realized it was just because it was over. I don't even think an epilogue detailing the way all the characters end up in the end would have tied it up for me. I want to read Bitterblue's entire life in detail. I never wanted it to end. If I could slip between the pages and disappear into this world, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

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