Slowest. Book. EVER.
Ok, a bit of an exaggeration. But for a fantasy novel, nothing really happens. And what does happens, takes so long to happen that it’s completely anti-climatic.
Bitterblue is the third book of Cashore’s Graceling trilogy. I’ve read all three now and I can’t say that I’m not particularly impressed with any of them. (Thoughts on Graceling here.)
We saw Bitterblue first in Graceling and this book takes place almost a decade afterward. Bitterblue is now 18 years old and Queen of Monsea. Some stuff happens and then it gets fixed after 500 pages. Katsa and Po show up a good bit, as does Fire and other characters from the previous books. Honestly, this book was so underwhelming for me I don’t even know how to review it.
Part of the problem is that 1) there’s no climax and 2)the primary villain, Leck, has been dead for as long as Bitterblue has been queen. The first 200 pages are nothing but questions as Cashore slooowly shows us that Monsea still has all kinds of problems even so long after Leck’s death. Except when none of those questions are being answered, I, at least, stop caring. I guess you could make the point that a certain revelation and subsequent death is the climax of the book but when it takes so long to play out, again, I stop caring.
It’s a shame really because there was so much potential in this series. It’s a cool idea but it just left something wanting in my opinion.
Cashore and I also do not agree on sexual behavior so the casual sex and homosexuality were parts of the story that rubbed me the wrong way.
I wish I could like these books but I just can’t.