Cashore, Kristin Bitterblue, 539 p. Dial (Penguin), 2012. $20. Violence: PG-13 (lots of fighting, some death); Mature Content: PG-13 (mention, without description of King Leck’s perversions, off page sexual encounter).
It has been eight years since Bitterblue’s king, her own evil, mind-controlling father, was killed and dethroned. From 10-18, Bitterblue has let her advisor’s run the kingdom, as they bury her under a mountain of paperwork, never giving her time to ask questions. One day, however she wakes up a realizes that her kingdom is in shambles and that she had better find some answers, if only she knew what to ask. Her royal cousins – Po, Katsa, Raffin (last seen in Graceling) have also come to visit, telling her about their plans to rid others of the Seven Kingdoms from evil overlords, and their various talents can help Bitterblue as she begins to unravel a long trail of lies and betrayal. Besides several old friends, we meet spies, thieves, revolutionaries and a love interest for Bitterblue.
Most of the characters from the two previous novels make reappearances, each playing a special role, though the action revolves around Bitterblue. Just like her own confusion, we are also confused at first – and as Bitterblue’s mind clears, so does more of our understanding. While this is not the swashbuckling action of the first novel, it does carry satisfaction at a deeper level, for those readers who have matured.
MS, HS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher