This month brought the release of Bitterblue, the long-awaited third book in the NYT-bestselling Young Adult fantasy series by Kristin Cashore. Though it may be ideal to read Graceling and Fire first, don’t worry overmuch about it — each book stands on its own.
Bitterblue is the story of a young queen trying to help her people move past the toturous rule of her tyrannical and psychopathic father. King Leck has been dead for years, and all Bitterblue wants is to help her country of Monsea to heal, to make it a happier and more productive place. However, the tasks she is given by her overprotective advisors seem little more than busy work. To escape the tedium of endless paperwork — none of which helps her better understand or connect with her people — Bitterblue resorts to late night walks to the city, where she can mingle with ordinary folk and hear story tellers spin their tales in public houses.
It is during these rambles that she meets Teddy and Saf, two young “truthseekers” who lead her to question all she knows and trusts. What truth are they seeking, and why does their search seem to land them in constant peril? Most importantly, what does this truth have to do with her father, who seems to exert more influence over her people from the grave than she does in life?
This book has all the hallmarks of high fantasy — a mythical land populated by a lengthy cast of sword-wielding and/or skirt-swishing characters, many of whom are “graced” with magical abilities. Even if you rarely find yourself attracted to fantasy, this story will entice you with its depth and heart. It is a meaty, satisfying read — full of humor, mystery, romance, and horror — that will satisfy lovers of all genres of fiction.
Check out this stunning trailer for all the books set in the Graceling Realm: