Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
This sequel to Graceling begins eight years after that story ended with Katsa killing Bitterblue’s father, the deranged and cruel King Leck. Queen Bitterblue’s advisers have been essentially running the kingdom of Monsea, keeping her busy with mountains of paperwork while pushing their “forward-thinking” philosophy, that is forgetting all the atrocities that were perpetuated by Leck during his 35 year reign. His grace of scrambling peoples’ minds so they didn’t realize what he was doing has now worn off, but Bitterblue slowly discovers that her citizens are still suffering from his reign of terror, even including her own advisers. She begins to realize that only be learning the truth about her father’s crimes can her people finally be free of the emotional repercussions of the madman’s rule.
While this was a decent addition to Cashore’s earlier works, it didn’t have the strength of Graceling. I was thrilled to see Katsa and Po again, and to meet many new characters. However, I found Bitterblue to be somewhat whiny and after awhile this impacted by engagement with the story. I would still recommend this to fans of Graceling and Fire, and readers looking for a complex fantasy in a well-developed setting.