Monday, April 30, 2012

review: Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

pub date: May 1, 2012
publisher: Dial
pages: 545
source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
appeals: it's a continuation of Cashore's Graceling.
content: violence, innuendo, a lot of boring parts

I loved the book Graceling when I read it years ago. Fire, meh. I was intrigued with Bitterblue because I wanted to read about the little princess from Graceling. I was happy when I received the copy from LibraryThing, until I saw how big it was. Did you see the page count? Five-hundred-forty-five pages! A very Looooong five-hundred-forty-five pages.

I would like to say the reason I didn't enjoy the book much was because it was all so political. Bitterblue is queen of Monsea, trying to navigate a kingdom that has been deeply scarred by her father's rule. There is so much politic that I found the story Tedious to read. Yet one of my all time favorite books is The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner and that book is full of politics. I've read it at least five times, and I've never been bored with Gen's story. But Bitterblue's? A snooze fest. Maybe not the politics so much?

Maybe the fact that I didn't care for Bitterblue? I didn't dislike her, but I didn't love her either. Maybe her impossible romance with a romantic interest that I wasn't too thrilled with, either? Maybe the mystery that wasn't even a mystery until half way through and when it was apparent, kept going in circles, round and round, but never actually went anywhere? Maybe the nonexistent plot? Whatever it was, this book wasn't all that interesting to me.

Add to all of that how much I got sick of Leck and his history and Bitterblue's determination to learn more about how wicked Leck was. There were times Leck seemed like the main character of this story, not Bitterblue.

I must say that I thought the actual writing stellar, like always. Cashore is an amazing storyteller, even when the story she's telling isn't all that interesting. And she did a great job giving reminders for what happened in Graceling for those readers who read it years ago (like me), without going overboard. (Except for all of that about Leck, of course).

When I keep reading books that I should really just give up on, I have to wonder why I keep reading them. Sometimes, like in this case, I just feel like I have to complete it so I can check it off my list. And, when I get a copy for review like I did Bitterblue, it makes me that much more compelled to keep going. I really need to learn how to stop. Especially when the book is five-hundred-forty-five-freakin pages (too) long.

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

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