Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck’s death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck’s reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea’s past has become shrouded in mystery, and it’s only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle – curious, disguised and alone – to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past. Whatever that past holds. Two thieves, who have sworn only to steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart.
I found the first 1/3 of the book extremely dull, the next 1/3 of the book more interesting and the last 1/3 of the book amazing. That’s why what normally would have taken me a couple of days to read took me almost 12 days to get through, I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever get through it, I considered stopping it a few times, but convinced myself to push through. I will say it’s not entirely necessary to read Fire first, though the last few chapters will make much more sense, you could read it after Bitterblue and the completely understand the meaning of Bitterblue. It’s a lot like reading His Infernal Devices before or after the Mortal Instruments. The end of the Mortal Instruments makes more sense because you already know about Tess and Brother Zachariah, but it’s okay to read it after as well, you do have to read it though. Same goes for Fire, to truly understand the ending of Bitterblue you need to read Fire at some point, I’m also really really hoping Cashore is coming out with another Graceling Realm book that revolves around all the characters from both books. I want to know what is happening now. While things got resolved there was a bit of a cliffhanger since you didn’t get answers to what happens after.