There aren’t many books that I can’t put down, but Bitterblue is one of them. I said of Graceling, Kristin Cashore’s first book that I wished I could give it a six on the scale of one to five stars. Bitterblue is even better. The story picks up some nine years after the close of Graceling and Bitterblue is the Queen of a country that still has trouble remembering itself after the damage that Leck did to it during his mad reign.
To escape the overwhelming amount of paperwork, Bitterblue takes to walking the streets of her city at night. She discovers story halls and meets a thief who claims that he only steals what was already stolen.
There are few books that cause me to laugh out loud. Bitterblue had me chortling all the way through. The humour is a wonderful counterpoint to a story of a country that is struggling with a form of communal mental illness. We bounce from humour to despair and sometimes both inhabit the same words.
The characters that we know from the earlier books are present, but Bitterblue is the Queen of this story. We are privileged to follow her through her mistakes and to the place where she begins to learn what she can do.
I heartily recommend this book to any fantasy reader, and beyond that to people who have interest in the idea of mental health both individual and communal.