Bitterblue is another great book by Kristin, and Xanthe brought Bitterblue to life for me! Good listen/read!
The story was good although it was really drawn out. I kept wanting Bitterblue to get a hold of her self and just "make it happen" so it was really annoying that it wasn't until the end that she got herself together. The horrible accents for Poe and Catness were also really annoying. It was an okay book but definitely the weakest of the series
I loved the first two titles in the Graceling series, but this was this first in the series that I listened to rather than read. I enjoyed it so much that I listened to it twice and have decided to purchase the first two titles in audible format to listen to.
There were so many great moments in Bitterblue, but what I really enjoyed about the audio version is that the narrator really helped the listener understand the frustration and anguish Bitterblue suffered while trying to rule her kingdom as a young queen.
I believe this is the first time I listened to Xanthe Elbrick perform. I thought she was wonderful! Not only is her voice pleasant to listen to, it is so regal that it fit the part perfectly.
This book took me through many emotions from happiness to fear. It was fun to hear Bitterblue as a young adult since I last knew her as a small child. The characters from the earlier books seemed more lifelike since I could hear them. Many times throughout the story I was afraid for her life and felt just as betrayed as Bitterblue was betrayed.
This is a story I will listen to over and over. It reminds me of the importance of friends, old and new.
I always wanted to find out what happened to King Arthur after he was corinated as such a young age. This story is the closest I've seen yet. Even though Bitterblue does not have a grace, she still manages to run her kingdom the best she knows how and fixes problems as she learns of them.
There is some major psychological damage to the land after the old mind-controlling king was dispatched. Some of the people are still under his influence and other's don't want information to come to light about what they did during the old king's reign.
Katsa, but she does a mavelous job of portraying all the characters.
Oh yes, but spoilers...
I'd love to see another trilogy in this realm.
This book is a continuation of a series, following on from "Graceling" and its prequel "Fire." I was extremely impressed by the way in which the author dealt with the aftermath of the events in Graceling. Given what had happened prior to the book's opening, the mysteries and problems discovered by Bitterblue in her fractured kingdom, and her gradual search for answers, all felt very authentic and relevant to things that happen in our world too. Though beautifully written and very entertaining, this isn't a simplistic tale in which a young heroine goes from one adventure to another for their own sake; there's real logic, and also a lot of heart and soul, to this story.
One point is that I sometimes see this described as a young adult novel. I suppose other novels read avidly by adults worldwide (Harry Potter comes to mind) are also described in that way, but the subject matter was often quite complex and sometimes very dark, even more so I think than the previous books in the series, and it didn't feel as if it was aimed at young adults in particular. (And it was certainly far, FAR superior to the numerous 'high schooler meets vampire' books filling the young adult shelves ;)
The narrator did a very good job too. The regional British accents (for each kingdom) did take a little getting used to, particularly having listened to a full cast recording of "Graceling" (in which Katsa does not have a brisk Scottish accent and Po is not Irish!) but on balance I think it was a clever choice. Also, all too often anyone heroic and/or a love interest is given a sort of bland 'Oxford' English accent (like Bitterblue's), but Sapphire's accent was north country and I thought it was a welcome change! (Though I could question why his accent wasn't the same as Po's, since they were both Leonid, and why one character from Katsa's kingdom didn't have a Scottish accent... but that's not really important I guess ;) The main point is that the accents were a clever concept, and didn't bother me once I got used to them. I'm from southern England myself and have a terrible ear for accents, so I am probably not the best judge of whether the Scottish accent was perfect or would have driven a Scottish person crazy, etc.... but then again, this is a fantasy set in another world, so I suppose it only matters that they were consistent ;-}
I've never written a review before, but this novel was simultaneously so interesting and so problematic that I felt I needed to chime in.
_Bitterblue_ takes the idea of post-dictatorship truth and reconciliation movements into young adult fantasy. The fantasy kingdom of Monsea was for many years ruled by an evil wizard (different terminology is used for magic-users in these books, but for those unfamiliar with the series, "wizard" will do). Eight years ago, the wizard was killed, and his then ten-year-old daughter Bitterblue became queen. Now eighteen, Bitterblue is just beginning to discover the extent of the physical and psychological harm her father did to the kingdom, through meeting members of an underground truth and reconciliation movement which her royal advisers have been suppressing through abuse of state power.
A young adult novel about truth and reconciliation movements is an interesting and worthy idea (I don't read enough YA literature to know if it's been done before). However, the novel seems to take the position that forcing oneself to repeatedly face and relive "the truth" is the only worthy response to trauma, when studies suggest that while this helps many people, others feel and function *worse* when forced to relive traumatic events. Also, the late evil king is a bit too much of an overblown, one-dimensional "big bad" (he rapes women, molests children, *and* tortures animals!) At times, the novel's obsessive recounting of his evil deeds feels like it's more for the titillation of the reader/listener than the psychological healing of the characters.
For fans of the previous books, major characters from _Graceling_ figure prominently, but mostly gratuitously, in _Bitterblue_ (and if you listened to the version of _Graceling_ read by an American cast, the Scots/Irish-sounding accents that _Bitterblue_ reader Xanthe Elbrick gives them may seem jarring). The romance plot is less central to this book than to the others, although it continues their excellent tradition of featuring a young woman character who thoughtfully and responsibly learns about her own sexuality.
The rare combination of great story and well written book! If you've read the other two Cashore books you must read this one! If not - read the other two first and then read this one! One caveat though - this book really isn't suitable for children.
The audio edition went to slow! I had to read it faster. I listened to it until I was about a third of the way through the book and then I went ahead and downloaded it to my kindle so I could devour it faster. I found the mystery of Bitterblue's surroundings very compelling.
My favourite character was probably Hava. The girl graced with hiding. Poor thing, she just wanted to be left alone.
So many. One of the best, was the scene in the court when Saf found out she was the queen.
A young woman discovers her city and herself.
I have really enjoyed reading/listening to the Graceling series books (Graceling: book1, Fire: book2, and Bitterblue: book 3) by Kristin Cashore. The books are very well written. I love the characters and how they and the different stories kind of intermingle together. Also, I love Zanthe Elbrick's narration.
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore is the conclusion to the Graceling trilogy and I’m definitely late to the game on this one ;-). I listened to the entire trilogy on audiobook though and do recommend them if you’re like me and still catching up on this awesome fantasy series! One of the big things to know about Bitterblue and the previous books, however, is that they are much more like companion novels than a continuous trilogy. Each book is about a different character and while Bitterblue relies on events that occurred previously, it’s set years in the future and so you probably could easily read it without having read the previous books. I listened to the previous two books over a year ago and only kind of remember them, so it worked out for me in any case ;-).
Bitterblue is a much different book than Fire and Graceling, which made me happy. I was impressed that Cashore was able to write such a character-driven book without her typical kick-butt heroine from the previous books.
I loved that Bitterblue brought the whole trilogy together even though it is set so apart from the other books. Katsa and Fire both play big roles and a lot of the questions we were left with about a certain evil mind-reader are pursued in Bitterblue.
I loooooved the mysteries of Bitterblue City and all of the strange things that Bitterblue keeps encountering and needs to figure out. Bitterblue the girl is also so like me in her need to make lists to figure out how everything fits together ;-). Lists are the best!
Bitterblue is pretty low on the romance but it was just the right amount for me. I enjoyed that Bitterblue had priorities other than a pretty boy given that she is a queen and all! That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have feelings that she has to deal with on her down time though ;-).
Bitterblue has a great narrator who fit Bitterblue’s character quite well. While Graceling is full-cast audio, Bitterblue has just one narrator, which seems to be a bit more common.
Since the book is so character driven, it was pretty important for Bitterblue to be a strong character and I enjoyed her a lot! She is smart and strong, but very realistic in her difficulties of ruling a country that has been torn apart by the previous king, not to mention the horrors that she and her mother endured when her father was still ruling.
The plot is kind of all over the place given the character-driven nature of Bitterblue. I didn’t really know what the actual plot was going to end up being until half-way through I’d say. Things just kind of happen for a while.
After 2/3 of the book, Bitterblue gets SUPER TRIGGERY. Horrible things happened during Leck’s rule, including physical and sexual abuse to an absolutely terrifying degree. It was difficult to listen to sections where these things were revealed so be sure you are prepared.
The narrator’s voices for different characters were inconsistent, which disappointed me. I like it when I can realize which character is talking just by the voice, but that wasn’t the case with Bitterblue.
Despite my general approval of Bitterblue’s character, she can get a bit whiny at times. I just wanted her to toughen up a bit here and there, but I guess I wouldn’t have been much better given the situation >.>.
Bitterblue is a very interesting conclusion to the Graceling trilogy. It’s quite different than the previous books, focusing on a character-driven plot with a very different heroine than Katsa and Fire. However, I still enjoyed Bitterblue for being different and for pulling the three books together in a rather fresh way. With the huge number of connected trilogies out there, it was fun to listen to three books that each stood on their own and were simply based in the same world. I wouldn’t say Bitterblue was my favorite of the three (Fire is for the record), but I’m very glad that I’ve finally finished these books!