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Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Audiobook {4 Stars}

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore is the conclusion to the Graceling trilogy and I’m definitely late to the game on this one ;-). I listened to the entire trilogy on audiobook though and do recommend them if you’re like me and still catching up on this awesome fantasy series! One of the big things to know about Bitterblue and the previous books, however, is that they are much more like companion novels than a continuous trilogy. Each book is about a different character and while Bitterblue relies on events that occurred previously, it’s set years in the future and so you probably could easily read it without having read the previous books. I listened to the previous two books over a year ago and only kind of remember them, so it worked out for me in any case ;-).

Note: I listened to Bitterblue on audio and that definitely influences my opinion on the book.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Audiobook {4 Stars}

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Narrated by Xanthe Elbrick
(Graceling Realm #3)
Published by Dial on May 1st, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 563 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea, still under the influence of her father Leck, a violent psychopath who altered minds. Her advisers want to pardon evildoers and forget everything, but she sees the past holds fast. Two thieves, who only steal what has been stolen, hold the truth and change her life. One, his Grace skill unidentified, has a key to her heart.

4 Stars


  • Bitterblue is a much different book than Fire and Graceling, which made me happy. I was impressed that Cashore was able to write such a character-driven book without her typical kick-butt heroine from the previous books.
  • I loved that Bitterblue brought the whole trilogy together even though it is set so apart from the other books. Katsa and Fire both play big roles and a lot of the questions we were left with about a certain evil mind-reader are pursued in Bitterblue.
  • I loooooved the mysteries of Bitterblue City and all of the strange things that Bitterblue keeps encountering and needs to figure out. Bitterblue the girl is also so like me in her need to make lists to figure out how everything fits together ;-). Lists are the best!
  • Bitterblue is pretty low on the romance but it was just the right amount for me. I enjoyed that Bitterblue had priorities other than a pretty boy given that she is a queen and all! That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have feelings that she has to deal with on her down time though ;-).
  • Bitterblue has a great narrator who fit Bitterblue’s character quite well. While Graceling is full-cast audio, Bitterblue has just one narrator, which seems to be a bit more common.
  • Since the book is so character driven, it was pretty important for Bitterblue to be a strong character and I enjoyed her a lot! She is smart and strong, but very realistic in her difficulties of ruling a country that has been torn apart by the previous king, not to mention the horrors that she and her mother endured when her father was still ruling.


  •  The plot is kind of all over the place given the character-driven nature of Bitterblue. I didn’t really know what the actual plot was going to end up being until half-way through I’d say. Things just kind of happen for a while.
  • After 2/3 of the book, Bitterblue gets SUPER TRIGGERY. Horrible things happened during Leck’s rule, including physical and sexual abuse to an absolutely terrifying degree. It was difficult to listen to sections where these things were revealed so be sure you are prepared.
  • The narrator’s voices for different characters were inconsistent, which disappointed me. I like it when I can realize which character is talking just by the voice, but that wasn’t the case with Bitterblue.
  • Despite my general approval of Bitterblue’s character, she can get a bit whiny at times. I just wanted her to toughen up a bit here and there, but I guess I wouldn’t have been much better given the situation >.>.


Bitterblue is a very interesting conclusion to the Graceling trilogy. It’s quite different than the previous books, focusing on a character-driven plot with a very different heroine than Katsa and Fire. However, I still enjoyed Bitterblue for being different and for pulling the three books together in a rather fresh way. With the huge number of connected trilogies out there, it was fun to listen to three books that each stood on their own and were simply based in the same world. I wouldn’t say Bitterblue was my favorite of the three (Fire is for the record), but I’m very glad that I’ve finally finished these books!

Have you read Bitterblue yet? Which is your favorite of the three?

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya


 Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

© 2014 – 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. It’s so long ago, that I read Graceling and Fire, but if it’s true, that I don’t need to remember so much of them, maybe I’ll read this one, one day without taking a look at the others again. I haven’t got the patience to do that anymore.
    Windsprite recently posted…Ygramul, die Viele /Ygramul, the ManyMy Profile

    • Oh yeah, no worries about remembering details about those two, Bitterblue is years in the future and a completely different story. I can’t reread previous books either, but fortunately authors seem to be getting better at putting in reminders for those of us with too many books to read!

  2. I enjoyed Bitterblue, but not as much as Graceling and Fire. I liked Bitterblue as a protagonist just as much as Katsa and Fire, so my problems also stemmed from the plot (or lack thereof at times). At the same time, I think Cashore was deliberate in making the plot so confusing, as the entire kingdom is still under the haze of Leck’s rule and all. I just don’t think it worked quite the way it was supposed to, though.
    I should try reading this trilogy via audiobook. I always say that I want to read audiobooks, but I think re-reads would be better in this format. Do you recommend this audiobook production?
    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted…Review: Everneath by Brodi AshtonMy Profile

    • Yup, I definitely liked that I was lost along with Bitterblue, though it made it difficult to get into at times. Each of the audiobooks were done differently, but I liked them all. Graceling is a fullcast audio so there are lots of narrators, one for each character pretty much, and then Fire and Bitteblue are single but different narrators, both of whom I liked :)

  3. Susan Gourley says:

    I was disappointed in Bitterblue and found her rather difficult to care about. I enjoyed the first two books but not this one.

  4. Alyn Yang says:

    I read all three books. I liked Graceling the most and Bitterblue the least. I agree with you about the terrible things that happened during Leck’s rule, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the people he hurt. I couldn’t bring myself to like Bitterblue that much though. She was a bit too whiny .

    • Haha, I guess I kind of understood where she was coming from since everything was so crazy and hard for her ;-). I think I read so many strong heroine books that I kind of like characters that aren’t that trope as much sometimes *is weird*

  5. I haven’t gotten to Bitterblue yet, but it’s definitely on my list. I loved the first 2 books. Glad to hear the trilogy ends with a strong book, and lots of questions are answered.
    Sarah recently posted…Review: Rosemary and RueMy Profile

  6. I’ve only read Graceling so far. I liked a lot of it, but had a few issues that bothered me enough to sour the aftertaste. I have been considering giving Fire a shot, though, and since it’s your favorite … I may just have to schedule it in this year. ;) The meandering plot of Bitterblue makes me wary. I can’t think of many authors I’ve read that pulled off meandering, character-driven meanderings in a way I liked. Nice review!
    Kel @ No Cucumber Sandwiches recently posted…Shop Talk: Bookstores in the Digital AgeMy Profile

  7. LeKeisha Thomas says:

    I’ve not read these books yet. Will definitely check them out soon!

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