Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ARC Review of BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore

Just yesterday I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Bitterblue, which is due out in May, and I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading half of it and then finished it when I woke up...a few hours ago. :-) I'm sorry for not doing a video review, but at the moment, my hair is wet and I'm trying to function without coffee.

Y'all are lucky I'm capable of typing coherently... On to the review!

Bitterblue is the sequel to Graceling and a companion to Fire, both wonderful novels by Kristin Cashore.

Here is the Goodreads summary:

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.
As a fan of Cashore's work and her previous novels, I salivated at the thought that I was getting to read her next novel early. Sometimes I wonder at my priorities. Anyway, despite missing a few key parts as ARC's are wont to do (no maps, booooooo), I came away from my contact with the kingdom of Monsea with a new appreciation for the depth of the Graced world.

I'm not sure if Bitterblue is my favorite The Seven Kingdoms novel--I have a soft spot for Fire--but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Cashore is a wizard with description and creates a world rife with interesting characters and intriguing mysteries.

One of the most important aspects of all of Cashore's books, in my opinion, is the unflinching approach she takes to difficult subjects. The entire kingdom of Monsea has undergone 35 years of hardship and torture at the hands of King Leck (one of the worst villains I've ever hated), and Bitterblue has to come into her own as a queen of a confused and healing people. It isn't easy and, as a reader, I felt like I was suffering from the same type of post traumatic Leck disorder as everyone within the pages.

There is intrigue, murder, puzzles, love, but most of all, there is hope. Cashore doesn't believe in overly sappy endings, and I'm glad. Bitterblue's story is better without that. Watching the characters grow and explore what it means to heal is a great gift. It's a bonus that the fantasy world is amazing as well.

I give Bitterblue 4 out of 5 stars. So, when May comes around, I hope y'all pop on over to your local bookstore and snag a copy. I guarantee you'll find something worthwhile between the pages.

As a token of my gratitude for y'all being amazing blog friends, I'm going to give away my ARC of Bitterblue in true blog fashion.

Rules:
Simply comment on this post for one entry.

And spread the news about the giveaway any way you feel necessary! Tweet, blog, Facebook, etc. Leave the direct link in your comment and I'll give you an extra entry!

I'm going to give y'all approximately 24 hours to enter and then I'll put your names in random.org and draw a winner!

Now, if you're not in the United States, I'm sorry, but I will not be able to send it to you. :( I'm only a poor college student so I hope you'll understand. Anyone in the U.S. and Canada is welcome to try their hand at the game. I think my pocketbook can stretch that far.

Also, please be sure to leave me some way of getting in touch with you in case you do win. An email address would be perfect.

Until next time...

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