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Bitterblue
Cover of Bitterblue
Bitterblue
Graceling Realm Series, Book 3
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Enter the Graceling Realm and let it work its magic in this unforgettable novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristin Cashore. When Queen Bitterblue took the throne of Monsea, she was a...
Enter the Graceling Realm and let it work its magic in this unforgettable novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristin Cashore. When Queen Bitterblue took the throne of Monsea, she was a...
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Description-

  • Enter the Graceling Realm and let it work its magic in this unforgettable novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristin Cashore. 

    When Queen Bitterblue took the throne of Monsea, she was a child, and her advisers ran the kingdom for her. Now she is beginning to question their decisions, especially how they handle the legacy of her father Leck, who who ruled through his Grace—a special talent for mind-altering—and his taste for darkness and violence. Bitterblue needs to know Monsea’s past to lead it into the future, so she begins exploring the city sreets at night, disguised and alone. As she does, she meets two thieves, who hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

    Bitterblue is a gateway to the Graceling Realm that braids together magic, memory, and romance.

    Look for Kristin Cashore's highly-anticipated return to the Graceling Realm, Winterkeep!

    "Some authors can tell a good story; some can write well. Cashore is one of the rare novelists who do both. Thrillingly imagined and beautifully executed, Bitterblue stands as a splendid contribution in a long literarly tradition." —The New York Times Book Review on Bitterblue

    * "Brilliantly detailed and brimming with vibrant and dynamic characters." —SLJ, starred review of Bitterblue

    “There are some books that stick with you for years, and Kristen Cashore’s Fire is one of them. Thoughtful, steamy and completely original, Fire is YA fantasy at its absolute best.”—Sabaa Tahir, author of New York Times bestselling Ember in the Ashes on Fire

    A New York Times bestseller
    ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults
    A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
    A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
    A BCCB Blue Ribbon Title
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Prologue

    When he grabs Mama’s wrist and yanks her toward the wall-hanging like that, it must hurt. Mama doesn’t cry out. She tries to hide her pain from him, but she looks back at me, and in her face, she shows me everything she feels. If Father knows she’s in pain and is showing me, Father will take Mama’s pain away and replace it with something else.

    He will say to Mama, “Darling, nothing’s wrong. It doesn’t hurt, you’re not frightened,” and in Mama’s face I’ll see her doubt, the beginnings of her confusion. He’ll say, “Look at our beautiful child. Look at this beautiful room. How happy we are. Nothing is wrong. Come with me, darling.” Mama will stare back at him, puzzled, and then she’ll look at me, her beautiful child in this beautiful room, and her eyes will go smooth and empty, and she’ll smile at how happy we are. I’ll smile too, because my mind is no stronger than Mama’s. I’ll say, “Have fun! Come back soon!” Then Father will produce the keys that open the door behind the hanging and Mama will glide through. Thiel, tall, troubled, bewildered in the middle of the room, will bolt in after her, and Father will follow.

    When the lock slides home behind them, I’ll stand there trying to remember what I was doing before all of this happened. Before Thiel, father’s foremost adviser, came into Mama’s rooms looking for Father. Before Thiel, holding his hands so tight at his sides that they shook, tried to tell Father something that made Father angry, so that Father stood up from the table, his papers scattering, his pen dropping, and said, “Thiel, you’re a fool who cannot make sensical decisions. Come with us now. I’ll show you what happens when you think for yourself.” And then crossed to the sofa and grabbed Mama’s wrist so fast that Mama gasped and dropped her embroidery, but did not cry out.

    “Come back soon!” I say cheerily as the hidden door closes behind them.

    I remain, staring into the sad eyes of the blue horse in the hanging. Snow gusts at the windows. I’m trying to remember what I was doing before everyone went away.

    What just happened? Why can’t I remember what just happened? Why do I feel so—

    Numbers.

    Mama says that when I’m confused or can’t remember, I must do arithmetic, because numbers are an anchor. She’s written out problems for me so that I have them at these moments. They’re here next to the papers Father has been writing in his funny, loopy script.

    46 into 1058.

    I could work it out on paper in two seconds, but Mama always tells me to work it out in my head. “Clear your mind of everything but the numbers,” she says. “Pretend you’re alone with the numbers in an empty room.” She’s taught me shortcuts. For example, 46 is almost 50, and 1058 is only a little more than 1000. 50 goes into 1000 exactly 20 times. I start there and work with what’s left. A minute later, I’ve figured out that 46 into 1058 is 23.

    I do another one. 75 into 2850 is 38. Another. 32 into 1600 is 50.

    Oh! These are good numbers Mama has chosen. They touch my memory and build a story, for fifty is Father’s age and thirty-two is Mama’s. They’ve been married for fourteen years and I am nine and a half. Mama was a Lienid princess. Father visited the island kingdom of Lienid and chose her when she was only eighteen. He brought her here and she’s never been back. She misses home, her father, her brothers and sisters,...

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books random - This is a really good book, but part of it is not good if you are not yet 12. There are some things that you shouldn't know about yet until then. Otherwise, this is a wonderful book, and is very interesting and delightful to read. Bitterblue, Po's cousin seen in 'Graceling', has grown up and is ruling Monsea. She has to fight through the past and defeast 'forward thinking' to see the truth. Read it, it's Good
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 2, 2012
    When last seen, Bitterblue had been crowned queen of Monsea, after Katsa, the heroine of Graceling, killed her father, King Leck. (He had it coming.) Eight years have passed; Bitterblue, now 18, is in power, even as her counselors have attempted to sweep the wretched perversity of Leck’s reign under the rug. Bitterblue objects—not only because she thinks she needs to understand that history in order to lead but because she feels constrained by busy work that keeps her trapped in the castle. Spirited and frustrated, she dons a disguise, sneaks out, and quickly befriends a printer and a handsome thief. Complications, naturally, ensue. Her romance and growth into the role of queen are among the best parts of this sprawling story, which brings forward (but does not entirely resolve) plot strands from both Graceling and Fire. There are many pleasures—fans will welcome the return of Katsa and her lover, Po; Bitterblue’s court includes Death (rhymes with teeth), a dour librarian graced with the ability to read fast and remember every word. Once the narrative shifts from Bitterblue’s clandestine adventures in the city to her convalescence inside the castle, the story loses some steam, even as the sick nature of Leck’s abuses are unearthed. Nonetheless, devotees of the earlier books and fans of Megan Whalen Turner’s intricate political fantasies will relish this novel of palace intrigue. Ages 14–up. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2012
    Building on the plots and themes of the award-winning Graceling (2008) and its companion Fire (2009), this rich and poignant fantasy grapples with the messy aftermath of destroying an evil overlord. Nine years after Bitterblue took the crown, the young queen and her realm are still struggling to come to terms with the monstrous legacy of her father, the insane, mind-controlling Leck. How can she "look forward," as her advisors urge, when she cannot trust her memories of the past? Sneaking out of her castle, Bitterblue discovers that her people have not healed as much as she has been told. While "truthseekers" are determined to restore what Leck destroyed, others are willing to kill to keep their secrets hidden. Gorgeous, textured prose is filled with images of strange beauty and restrained horror. It propels an intricate narrative dense with subplots and rich in characters familiar and new. Weaving them together are all the lies: conspiracies and ciphers, fakes and false testimony, spies and thieves, disguises and deceptions, mazes and puzzles. They are lies spun from greed, shame, strategy, fear, duty--even kindness. And it is Bitterblue who, trapped in this net of deceit, must draw upon all her courage, cleverness and ferocious compassion to reveal the truth--and to care for those it shatters. Devastating and heartbreaking, this will be a disappointment for readers looking for a conventional happy ending. But those willing to take the risk will--like Bitterblue--achieve something even more precious: a hopeful beginning. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2012

    Gr 8 Up-When the evil King Leck was killed, his 10-year-old daughter, Bitterblue, suddenly became Queen of Monsea. King Leck had the Grace, or power, to muddle people's minds to do his bidding. His 35-year reign was filled with brutal murders, rapes, torture, and deceit, and the now 18-year-old queen is struggling to hold together the pieces of her crumbling kingdom. Feeling that her advisors are sheltering her from harsh truths, she disguises herself as a commoner and ventures out at night to local story rooms to hear tales of her father's reign and begin to learn how best to help her people. It is on one of these outings that she meets Saf, a young thief. Thinking that he and his friends can help her to gain insight into Monsea and its people, Bitterblue soon falls for him, despite his reckless behavior and the claim that he has yet to discover his Grace. Meanwhile, "truthseekers" are being sought out and silenced for what they know. Bitterblue tries to connect the dots, but the more she explores, the more she begins to question who she can trust, even (and especially) within her own administration. The novel starts a bit slow and is perhaps a bit too long, but those minute flaws are easily overlooked once readers are ensconced in this wondrous world of the Seven Kingdoms. The book can stand on its own, but it will most thoroughly be enjoyed by fans of Graceling (Harcourt, 2008) and its companion book, Fire (Dial, 2009). Characters from both novels appear in this installment, which ends with clear direction for another title. Cashore's imagined world is brilliantly detailed and brimming with vibrant and dynamic characters.-Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 15, 2012
    Grades 9-12 Bitterblue, who appeared as a child in Graceling (2008), comes into her own as a woman and a queen, looking beyond her advisors and secretly exploring her city in order to discover her purpose as ruler. Years after the violent acts initiated by her father, the past still haunts his victims and taints those forced to carry out his sadistic orders. Working blindly and unsure who to trust, Bitterblue tries to uncover her father's darkest secrets and heal the still-festering wounds he created. Meanwhile, troubles are brewing outside her country's borders and within her castle walls. Though the novel could be read on its own, it will be more fully understood by readers of Graceling and Fire (2009), as some characters from those books have roles here as well. Readers drawn to Cashore's novels by the strong, complex protagonists, their love stories, and their adventures will find similar elements here. Bitterblue is a strong-willed yet vulnerable character, but her love story and adventures are overshadowed by the painfully slow revelations of old secrets, ongoing deceptions, and malicious intrigues. Still, a must-read title for Cashore's many fans. HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: With publicity that ranges from an author tour to a dedicated website, to promotion at Comic-Con International, this will get plenty of attention.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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