Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.
But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck’s death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck’s reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea’s past has become shrouded in mystery, and it’s only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle – curious, disguised and alone – to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.
Whatever that past holds.
Two thieves, who have sworn only to 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, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart . . .
This is my favorite of the series! I love Bitterblue’s voice, and the whole issue with trying to recover from Leck’s reign is really interesting. I also like the cameos of Po and Katsa – and the fact that they are still together and as devoted to each other as they were nine years ago in Graceling. It’s also really fun to see the little influences cross over from what we learned in Fire, and eventually see some of those characters and learn that Fire and Brigan are married.
Still not a fan of the casual sex that plays in all of these books. I understand the feminist influence, not wanting the protagonists to be defined by men, to be independent, and that’s successful (in a lot more books than just these), but the way sex is used as a coping method in this and Fire, I just can’t get behind that.
Bitterblue’s personal journey is great. Loved her growth, her involvement with her kingdom, and the way she takes charge and learns to follow her gut about right and wrong and find a way to help her people cope with the past while moving forward. She grows so much through this book and it’s really fun to watch. I also like that the whole romance element in this book is pretty low key. There is the tension from it, but she is by no means worried about finding someone and she understands that she and Saf are not made to be a long term thing. I do like the idea of she and Giddon though, and there was definitely something between them.
The depth of Leck’s influence was what really made this book, and I think that theme can be extrapolated to so many big ideas in history. Overall, this book was just amazing, the way the three books meet in this story was beautiful and the nuances were so well thought out and placed. Loved it!