Bitterblue (Graceling Realm Series #3)

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm Series #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 child, and her advisers ran the kngdom 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 standalone novel, Jane, Unlimited!

"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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142426012
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Series: Graceling Realm Series , #3
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 32,578
Product dimensions: 5.84(w) x 8.06(h) x 1.65(d)
Lexile: HL790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

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. Her epic fantasy novels set in the Graceling Realm--Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue--have won many awards and much high praise, including picks as ALA Best Books for Young Adults, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Booklist Editors Choice, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. In addition, Graceling was shortlisted for the William C. Morris Debut Award and Fire is an Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Bitterblue"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Kristin Cashore.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

• “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

Customer Reviews

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Bitterblue 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 363 reviews.
OliviaMay More than 1 year ago
It's been 8 years since Leck died and Bitterblue ascended the throne. Her days consist of meetings, mounds of paperwork, and attending to the mundane inner-workings of her rule. She is 18 now, living a lonely existence surrounded only by advisers and servants, having essentially been locked away in an ivory tower. Becoming frustrated at her isolation, she begins to disguise herself at night and sneak out into the streets of the city. She has been assured that her kingdom is well-run and that her people are educated and happy, but life outside the castle is very different from what she has been led to believe. She has been lied to about many things. Vast parts of the city are in disrepair, the majority of the people are illiterate, and those who wish to tell the truth about events that occurred during Leck's reign are being attacked and killed. She realizes that her kingdom is broken, still reeling eight years later from the effects of Leck and his sadism. Can she be the queen her people need her to be, when she fears that she may be broken, too? This book is so rich in its storytelling. Bitterblue is just as smart and fierce as we saw her in Graceling, but she is also sad and lonely and confused. The closer she gets to the truth, the more lengths certain people will go to hide it. Little by little she finds the pieces of the puzzle and begins to construct the true picture of Leck's legacy, but we are never entirely sure whom of those around her can be trusted. The truths that Bitterblue uncovers are heartbreaking and terrible, but she must persevere in order for her kingdom to move forward and heal. We see quite a bit of Po, and some of Katsa as well as a few other characters from the first book (Giddon, Bann, Raffin, Skye), and it's interesting to see how very little they've changed over the years. I thought one or two of them might be married by now, might have families, etc, but no. They are heavily involved in the Council, which has become much more powerful throughout the seven kingdoms. The beginning was great, I was hooked immediately; the ending is satisfying, all the loose ends are tied up. My one quibble with the book is the bloated middle. It could have been trimmed down and the story would have flowed better, in my opinion. There are too many subplots involving too many minor characters and after a while it became tedious. Enough bits of the main story kept bobbing up to keep my interest, but I think it should have been more concise. Overall, though, I loved it. I hope Cashore keeps writing about strong female characters. It's so refreshing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bitterblue kept me engaged. It's long, but its really good. I would recommend it for 14 and over because it hints at adult content.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Graceling and Fire were good, but Bitterblue just blew me away! Finished the book in one day, great story plot, youre mind will be rattling at all the secrets you will find out. Mysterious and entertaining. Definitely on my list of best books i have ever read. If you like The Hunger Games, you will love and adore these three books!! MUST READ
Leah-books More than 1 year ago
I am a teen and I really enjoyed Graceling. can't wait to read more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. It tied up all the loose ends from the former book and how they all related to eachother. This book takes place approximately eight years after Leck's death. Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea and struggling to heal her broken kingdom from her tyrannical father, Leck. As she tries to figure out all the mysteries her father left in his tracks, she comes across romance, betrayal and horrible, as well as suprising discoveries. Death is around every corner and reveals itself to the least likely characters at the least likely moments. Mystery and romance play together in an intwined tale as Bitterblue uncovers everything from her past. New characters are introduced in this story and at times, things are a bit confusing. The book can be redundant and boring at times, and quick-paced at others, but overall this was a fantastic book. I suggest rereading (if you have not already) the first two books before starting on this because I got confused at the many mentions of former characters and places. You should really consider buying this book, for it was extremely interesting in all aspects and was totally worth the money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Graceling and Fire, they were beautiful and well written books with entire worlds between the covers. I have been waiting for this book to come out, and by the time i finished it, i admittedly cried several times. It is a wonderful book that imbues all the emotions of real life into every character and situation, and a brilliant meeting point for the main characters of all three books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is yet another great book by kristin cashore. Definitely recomend it to everyone.
Matriarch More than 1 year ago
If you are wondering if it's ok to read Bitterblue and go back and read Graceling... Well if you dont like Spoilers I would read Graceling first. I finished the book last night. There are so many things I liked about this book and things I did not. I can say though that I enjoyed Graceling and Fire much more than I did Bitterblue the book. I was not much attached to Bitterblue (in the book Bitterblue) as I was Katsa and Fire which is weird considering I loved Bitterblue in Graceling. I don't want to give any spoilers. If you get to Part 3 (Part 1 & 2 are slow) I will say that it's worth finishing and having your own opinion about (there are 5 parts total). I did enjoy reading about Katsa and Po as they are in the book (the author already stated this months ago on her website) another character I liked was Hava. I found Thiel to be very frustrating. Another thing, I wished I had known there was a map in the back of the book I could refer to of Bitterblue's castle while reading the book. I didn't find it until the end. So you do have that to refer to if you want.
BookNerd1555 More than 1 year ago
I really really wanted to love this book, but I just couldn't. So many of the parts in the story just seemed to drag on and it lost my attention many times. There definitely was not enough of Saf and Bitterblue and it jet seemed like Cashore was trying to get their relationship out of the way. There was a LOT of politics in the story and that just bored me. But on the other hand, Bitterblue had a lost of confused emotions and that made her a very interesting and complex character. The whole mystery aspect in the story was really confusing and I had no idea what was happening in many parts that should have filled the gaps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I loved the book Graceling and couldn't bear to end the series. I also love a long read. But this book portrayed many qualities I did not enjoy. 1. Parts of the book didn't lead up to anything in the story and were overall useless to the book. 2. The book's questions from the beginning never built up answers, but really just ended them suddenly leaving the reader confused. 3. The romance was awful. Saf was ruthless and un-intelligiant and made horrible decisions when he was angry and wouldn't make a good king. 4. The story was filled with politics not needed. 5. Saying balls when she is frustrated. Isn't she like 18? 6. I felt like Lady Fire had nothing to do with the story but they added her anyway. 7. Characters dieing before we could connect. 8. Katsa wasn't like she was in Graceling
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read both frie anx graceling, and enjoyed them immensly. But this book was simply too much. It makes very little sense and feels jumbled and ruahed. I cohtinued reading hoping tat in the end things would click into place. Nothing ever did. It makes some sense, but I got a very Alice In Wonderland odd feel about this book that I simply didn't enjoy at all. A decent book, but no where near Fire or Graceling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Cashore is a talented and amazing writer. This was my favorite book of the series so far. The story was so interesting with all the puzzles, ciphers, mazes, and mysteries. I love how she tied all the previous books and characters into this story. One of the best YA books i have read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book as much as the first two, it was slow at some parts and did not have enough of Bitterblue and Saf, but i have to say i still did not want the book to end. So ya, i still loved this book and i hope Kristen makes more.
SaraO More than 1 year ago
It just didn't feel complete to me… WARNING: Spoilers Galore!  * * * I feel like this book was *Almost* great. I’ve come to expect so much of Cashore’s characters. The way she develops her girls and brings them to womanhood has in the past been close to masterful. Even if I haven’t particularly loved a character *cough* Katsa *cough* I’ve very much respected their journey as a person. And I’ve enjoyed studying Cashore’s purpose in female driven writing. I haven’t been so drawn to watching an author develop a female theme across multiple books since my thesis on Virginia Woolf. And those were some fun times, let me tell you. So, don’t be disappointed when I say that one of my biggest issues was the romance. I know! That whole first paragraph was devoted to Women’s Studies and I gotta harp on the romance portion of the novel. But, the love triangle was just a big tease! I felt as though there was a lot of focus on Saf and Bitterblue’s relationship. Was Saf good? Bad? Bitterblue’s failing point? or saving grace? And it’s not as though I expect romance to be more important than the development of the female lead as a strong female. However, based on the previous two books in the series I was expecting the romance to play a defining role in Bitterblue’s development as a woman. At the very least a conclusion to the relationship would have shown if  Saf was just her first sexual partner and first love? Or did he come back and prove to be the man who would grow up and stand tall beside Bitterblue as a grown woman. While I admit, I think Bitterblue (yes, Bitterblue is a living, breathing person to me. Don’t judge, Cashore is really that good with her characters.) wanted Saf to be “The One”…I didn’t. I would have found it hard to see Cashore reconcile the person Bitterblue had to become with the person she would have needed to be to end up with Saf. Maybe this is the reason for the open ending? Cashore’s character’s desires separated from the point of the plot? And now I need to move on to my heartbreak…Gideon. Was Gideon never a choice? Almost a choice? Her eventual husband? If I had to guess due to plot and theme trajectory Gideon had to be Bitterblue’s future mate. I have reasons: 1. He lost all his lands, thus freeing him up to be a citizen of Monsea. 2. He was the man Bitterblue turned to for the truth. The only one she trusted to be honest and to accept her honesty. 3. Katsa spurned him in Graceling. Cashore couldn’t spurn the man twice in one series right?! 4. Bitterblue was always feeling ‘warm’ or ‘enjoying’ things naturally with Gideon – there were definite foreshadowing elements of a deepening attraction! 5. That first scene, where she falls asleep on him as he takes the pins out of her hair. Swoon. Shows instinctive trust. I like that part best. Maybe I was too reliant on the model of the previous two books – but I really expected more resolution in the romance category. Not finding that resolution really hurt my satisfaction with the ending of the book. And finally, moving on to the rest of the novel…What was simultaneously amazing and frustrating about this novel was that the whole book felt like a stumble in the dark. At first I was confused, then annoyed, then I realized it mirrored the feelings of the citizens themselves (point? or happy accident?) The read was a heavy one. The situation Leck left his kingdom in was impossibly scarred. And Cashore is unflinching while dealing with the issues. No Graceling will appear on a white horse to save the day with a truth sensing ability. Beautifully it’s two normally gifted humans (Gideon and Bitterblue) who begin to model a relationship where they promise not to lie. Truly the best these people can do to put their lives back together – Perfection (and I think the final piece of growing up Bitterblue needed to do) would have been to choose Gideon as her mate. The lack of romantic choice left the story (saga really) feeling unfinished to me…Maybe Cashore is planning a 4th installment? Hara will flesh out in her role as Bitterblue’s sister.  Gideon will finally land a girl. And [maybe] a baby for Katsa and Po? Hmm…that last one was probably asking for too much right? lol. Bitterblue is yet a softer character than even Fire and – especially – Katsa were. Bitterblue is the first female character Cashore has developed who was not dealing/blessed with a power. Instead she is only fighting the memory of one. Perhaps the hardest trick of all. Of all Cashore’s women Bitterblue is the most bare – the most defenseless. So utterly reliant on friends and fmaily. Truly a child (sheltered) for so much of the book. I missed seeing her exert more power on her own. To completel the transformation to Queen. Her power is her compassion. Her ability to consume and heal the grief of her people. If only the reader had more time to see the fruits and less time with the labor. Rating: 3.5/5 It just didn't feel complete to me…
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is as good as the last two. The defiant bitterblue is nothing like i imagined her in graceling.. sh is even better. Thi book is a must read . Extremley creative and amzingly written anyone can faall for kristins amazing writing
Wallflower_Bookworm More than 1 year ago
I didn't think Cashore would be able to top Graceling and Fire, but Bitterblue blew that opinion to shreds. It took me a couple chapters to get into the book (mostly because it's been a while since I've read the other 2 books and my head is stuffed with homework readings) but when I got into it I read it in a single day. I just love how she ties in both Fire and Graceling, and like it says on the inside cover you don't have to have read the other 2 to read Bitterblue, but having read them just makes it all the more interesting. I definitely recommend this to anyone who read Graceling and Fire, and recommend it to all readers, especially for teens and up, as some of the subtle intrigue can be a little mystifying to younger readers. Overall though, a fantastic novel - 5+ out of 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This 3rd installment of the Graceling series is good but not as good as the first two. Most of the story revolves around Leck's legacy, Bitterblue his daughter and now Queen must try and mend her people. I'm glad I read it but still, the first two were the best !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was much different than fire or graceling. I feel that nothing really happened since bitterblue was barely allowed to leave her castle. I really did enjoy the issues relating to gay rights, but I was surprised by how many of the original characters from other books ended up being homosexual.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love love love this book, it's a great third companion novel, and I cannot wait to read the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it is a really good book about a young girl having to be responsible and do the right thing even when love interveins
Christenrayeann More than 1 year ago
I cannot express to you how much I loved this book! It was amazing! I hadn't even know there was a sequel to Graceling, so when I found out about it I got it immediately, and I was not disappointed! I read Graceling twice and Fire twice. Kristin Cashore is one of the most fantasic writers I have ever known. I love everything she provides and i'm rarely disappointed with anything in her books. There is romance, suspense, heartbreak, anger, etc. You will experience every emotion while reading this book and you will fall in love with the characters just like with all her books! High recommend this!
hello_ashley More than 1 year ago
I started reading the Graceling Trilogy almost by accident one day, i just needed something to read. What an exceptional find. I highly recomend all three books (Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue) to young adults as well as older adults if you are into a fantasy adventure/suspense/romance novel. These new type of "Heroes" are amazing, so much better "mythological super-human" than anything i have ever read. I'm hooked. I read all three in a week, i could not put it down, Ms. Cashore must write another one, she left me wanting more! I REALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE WHO ENJOYS HAVING AN ADVENTURE WHILE READING!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope she writes more this book was amazing!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully original fiction
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be really good! It wasn't exactly fast-paced, but it was an overall great story. Kristen Cashore is a master story teller and I think she establishes that wonderfully in this tale of mystery, love, friendship, and psychopathy. I reccomend it to fans of Graceling because those characters (Katsa, Po, Giddon, Skye, etc) return better than ever!