Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

First Lines: Queen Bitterblue never meant to tell so many people so many lies.  It all began with the High Court case about the madman and the watermelon.

Talk about finally!  I started this series like, 3 years ago after Fire came out and now I can finally cross it off my list.  It was really frustrating waiting for this to come out because in the meantime, I forgot so much of the first two books.  The bookjacket said it wasn’t necessary to read either Graceling or Fire before this one, but what I remember from Graceling (particularly the characters) will greatly help you with this one.

*Caution: Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*

Now 18 years old, Bitterblue has become queen of Monsea.  But being queen isn’t what she thought it would be.  She’s bogged down every day by so much paperwork and she has no idea the state of things outside her tower walls.  It leaves her ignorant and vulnerable, and she knows it.  Frustrated, Bitterblue leaves her castle in the night to explore her country and makes a few friends along the way.  These friends will be vital to Bitterblue when she realizes that she’s in danger.  Someone out there is determined to silence Bitterblue if she can’t stay out things they feel she has no business in.  But more than that, how can she purify a realm that still feels Leck’s influence?

I was really happy to see Bitterblue as such a strong and capable girl in this book.  I never thought she’d be one to roll over and take whatever abuse came at her, but this went even beyond what I expected.  There’s so much on her plate and she took most of it in stride, trying to find answers.  I spent the last half of the book going, “I am so glad I’m not in her shoes.”  Except for a few scenes, in which I would have gladly traded her places.  (The cute ones)

There was so much court intrigue and so many hidden motives in this.  And these kind of books tend to be my favorite because it’s like a historical who-dun-it.  You can’t trust anyone, really.  I had a really hard time figuring out who could possibly be behind some of these things.  Since this is over 500 pages long, you’re looking at a lot of individual, sometimes unrelated mysteries and questions needing to be answers.  Which means a lot of different culprits.  If it takes you a long time to read a book, you may have to take notes with this one to keep straight what’s going on.

I liked seeing returning characters from Graceling that I liked so much, like Katsa and Po.  Can you really go wrong when those two are in your story?  They didn’t play huge parts (ok, one of them kind of did, but I’m not telling you which one), but their presence in the story was still awesome.  Makes me want to go back now and reread Graceling.

I actually woke up one morning thinking, “I wonder if I can get a little reading in before I do [X].”  So I took that to mean this book had wiggled its way into my head when that happened to be one of the first thoughts I had in the morning.  I wanted to know what happened next!

Very grabbing.  Lots of mystery and politics.  Even some very cute scenes between Bitterblue and someone else who shall remain nameless.

Oh yeah.  Anyone else feel like their iPods/MP3 players/computer music player reads their minds?  After I finished Bitterblue, I went back and reread about 10 pages again that I really liked while my iPod played in the background.  While I was reading about bridges in Monsea, it played 2 songs about bridges, one that was scary applicable to what was happening in the story.  It wasn’t until after the 2nd one that I realized what it had done.  And as the story progressed, the next song was scary applicable to that one.  I was like, “You have so got to be kidding me.  What just happened?”  I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen before when it’s not in a playlist.  I mean, I have over 1,500 songs on my iPod.  The odds of this happening seem really slim.  So now I’m watching my iPod warily, trying to find where it hides its brain (like a Horcrux!).

Right.  Yes.  Ratings time.

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