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Bitterblue (Graceling (Quality)) Paperback – May 1, 2012

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Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga. Learn more | See more teen sci-fi and fantasy

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When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.Learn more | More in Teen and Young Adult

Product Details

  • Series: Graceling (Quality) (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575097183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575097186
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (496 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,566,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


* “A story that transcends the genre with its emotional and philosophical weight.”—BCCB (starred review)
* “Devastating and heartbreaking.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Brilliantly detailed and brimming with vibrant and dynamic characters.”—SLJ, starred review

* “Fans of . . .intricate political fantasies will relish this novel of palace intrigue.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An exceptional book: heartbreaking, deep, and beautiful.”—
“Cashore is wonderful, tough and nuanced—everything you could want from a writer.”—Junot Díaz, author of This is How You Lose Her --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Kristin Cashore is an exceptional new writer in the fantasy genre. She has an M.A. in children's literature and has lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Sydney, Boston, Cambridge, Austin, Italy and even London before settling, for the moment, in Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

I really hope the wait isn't as long for whatever book Kristin Cashore writes next!
Amazon Customer
I thought that the idea of the book was interesting enough, but the author just took too long to get to the point.
The plot, characters and world - plus Bitterblue's journey- are the key to this book's story.
Lisa from Read.Breathe.Relax.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

239 of 257 people found the following review helpful By Caitie on May 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading the negative reviews on this novel, I wanted to set the record straight for those considering reading it.

First and foremost, this is Kristin Cashore's third novel, an extension of the stories begun in Graceling and Fire. These books tell the stories of two wildly different young women: Katsa, a Graced killer, and Fire, a beautiful human Monster. Each of these first two books differs greatly in tone, since Fire is a much more fragile girl than Katsa, who is wildly independent and self-sufficient. Bitterblue is named for the main character, Queen Bitterblue, who is yet another unique heroine. The books do not need to be read in order for readers to enjoy the stories, though this order does present some unique insights into the development of Leck's character.

Fans of Cashore's work (myself included) have been anticipating Bitterblue for a couple of years now, and I think that many readers, especially teens, were expecting Bitterblue to be as action-packed as the first two novels. These readers may find themselves disappointed, as this is the tale of a queen who (mostly) plays it safe, remains within her city, and has no special talent for fighting or mind control. Aside from having been born queen, Bitterblue is a normal human being, which is actually rather refreshing, since readers are not Gracelings or Monsters themselves. It gives us an idea of what it feels like to muddle through the Seven Kingdoms world without special, inborn talents. Though this change of character yields very different results from her first two books, it demonstrates Cashore's stylistic nimbleness and prevents her from following the same formulaic, cookie-cutter structures as other authors.
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109 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Dunyazad VINE VOICE on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was very much looking forward to this book after reading Cashore's Fire and Graceling in preparation. I have to say, though, that I came away from it pretty disappointed, for a variety of reasons. (Warning: there will be spoilers here for the preceding books.) Cashore's concept is pretty ambitious: Bitterblue has grown up and is trying to rule a kingdom that had suffered under her evil, mind-controlling father for 35 years. Her advisors and many of the people around her still aren't in their right minds. Understandably, trying to function in this situation could be pretty frustrating, but I felt that Cashore brought that frustration a bit too close to the reader. It was hard to appreciate the story when many of the characters were so erratic and the protagonist was just caught in a bubble of confusion. I certainly don't mind a book that focuses on political intrigue rather than action, but the intrigues here just didn't make sense. Adding to that, I hardly recognized Bitterblue herself; she seemed like a quietly competent child when we met her last, but as an 18-year-old she seemed sort of clueless. I'm not sure what she was supposed to have been doing for the past 8 years, besides sitting under a mountain of paper, but I found it strained credibility that she had absolutely no idea about the layout of her own castle, barely remembering that her father had had an art gallery and possibly never having known the location of various more functional sub-buildings. Similarly, she had no idea who most of the people were, and had apparently been content just to sit around signing papers until the story began.Read more ›
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's been nearly nine years since Bitterblue became queen after her tyrannical father's rule, and the kingdom of Monsea is still struggling. Monsea has undergone tremendous change, but the young queen finds herself buried under paperwork, unaware of what truly happens outside of her tower. So she sneaks out one night and goes into the city, pretending to be peasant in various taverns. It's not long before she meets Saf and Teddy, two young thieves who steal to right the wrongs of King Leck. Bitterblue befriends them and, not realizing she is their queen, the two young men open her eyes to the true state of her kingdom, and the cause for it--betrayal and deception among those Bitterblue trusts the most.

Kristin Cashore has written another magnificent novel, just as riveting and emotional as Graceling and Fire. Bitterblue is such a wonderful main character--she's inquisitive and brave, and even though she struggles with the day to day business of being queen and managing her advisers, her passion for her country and the people is genuine. Her decision to go into the city is as much of an attempt to learn more about her kingdom as it is a step of freedom made for her own sake. Throughout the novel she must deal with all sorts of inner pain and doubt when it comes to the memories of her parents, the confusing time spent with Leck, and trying to learn the truth about all of the things she doesn't understand. Saf and Teddy aren't able to help her directly with these problems, but put her on the right path towards figuring them out. With the help of trusted friends and family members, she slowly begins to uncover a conspiracy to hide what Leck did and deciphers the secrets both parents kept encrypted.
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More About the Author

Kristin Cashore grew up in the northeast Pennsylvania countryside as the second of four daughters. She received a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a master's from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College, and she has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer. She has lived in many places (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and she currently lives in the Boston area. Graceling, her first book, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Fire is her second book.

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