Ever since I first read Graceling I have been dying to get my hands on this set of books so I could read them all. just a few quick memo’s on this series. the first book “Graceling” is the only book in the series NOT named after the main character (not important at all but I thought it was interesting) there is only one character who links all three of these books (and you will be surprised who it is). the labelling for this series is a little tricky. first you have Graceling. then you have Fire, which is a “companion” to Graceling. Finally you have Bitterblue which is a “sequel” to Graceling and a “companion” to Fire. when you add in the fact that the books are not even in chronological order working out how to read them gets a bit tricky. I would recommend them reading them in order of release date.
*** these reviews may contain spoilers***
Series Rating 4.5 Stars
Rating 5 Stars
There is really very little not to like with this book. I Love Katsa (who doesn’t love a kick butt heroine?) Po is a sweetie and I love how as the story progresses, rather than changing, the characters merely become more of who they are. As is the case with any book with more than one kingdom it can be tricky to keep them all sorted. That being said the ones you need to know stand out and you are given all the information to keep those three sorted. Plus the whole basis of the story, being “graced” was just genius. I am a little disappointed that I wont be hearing more of Katsa and Po but I am glad that I still get to delve into this realm again.
“I’m not going to wear a red dress,” she said.
“It would look stunning, My Lady,” she called.
She spoke to the bubbles gathered on the surface of the water. “If there’s anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I’ll hit him in the face.”
“Perhaps I can stay by the fire and mend your socks and scream if I hear any strange noises.”
“And I suppose it never occurred to you to start small. If I told you my roof needed rebuilding, you’d start by knocking down the house.”
“‘It’s quite boring really, the way you beat me to death with your hands and feet, Katsa. It’ll be refreshing to have you come at me with a knife.”
Rating 4.5 stars
this book takes place in a neighbouring kingdom about 40 years before Graceling, that being said it is still most defiantly written to be read afterwards, although if you had not read Graceling you would still be able to follow the story (but there are spoilers). the prologue gives the back story of one of the prominent characters from Graceling but after that you don’t hear about anything linking the two books until just over halfway through, until this point I almost thought that putting this book in the same series was merely done to capitalise on what a wonderful book it was as the lore in the two books is so different. While not as good as the first book I certainly was not disappointed with this sequel. the relationships in this book were dynamic and interesting and often (but not always) I only caught onto a twist just before it happened, although I have to wonder if there was any normal functioning relationships in this story. with yet another heroine dead set against marriage (although in Fire’s case in particular I can understand why) I do wonder what Cashore has against it… needless to say I will probably be shocked by a wedding when it does happen (now that I have said it probably happens in the next book).
“Great! He has indigestion, so let’s torture him with cake.”
“There will be no yelling at people who are bleeding themselves to unconsciousness.”
“I know this is a war, but the rest of us are trying to pretend it’s a party.”
“We’re going to win this war, you know, now that our army’s together. But the world doesn’t care who wins. It’ll go on spinning, no matter how many people are slaughtered.” After a moment, he added. “I almost wish it wouldn’t, if we aren’t allowed to go on spinning with it.”
Rating 3.5 Stars
This book was the longest book in the series and yet I felt that despite that it did not tell as much as either Fire or Graceling. while Katsa and Fire were strong and adventurous, having enough money and power to buy themselves freedom but not enough to bind them. I felt Bitterblue as a queen was mostly not able to take these adventure as even she bemoaned. therefore all that was left to make the story move forward was political intrigue… which I found to be mostly quite predictable. Bitterblue is shown as being Smart and yet from the beginning of the book she lets her council members tell her what laws she should be passing, or what information she should find important, she is nothing but a puppet. finally while both Graceling and Fire had a beautiful love story weaved in, Bitterblue despite the length and two candidates never actually reached the romance (which is funny coming from the only character so far that is open to marriage).
on the other hand this book did tie up all the loose ends from the other two books (even if it finished with more lose ends than we started with) and it also brought all the books together. Also despite all the bad I have said about it, this was still an enjoyable read only brought down by my high expectations given to me by the rest of this series.
“Bacon improved things dramatically.”
“His name was Death. It was pronounced to rhyme with “teeth”, but Bitterblue liked to mispronounce it by accident on occasion.”
“Only a person with the true heart of a dictionary-writer would be lying in bed, three days after being stabbed in the gut, worrying about his P’s.”
“I wish people would stop hitting Po,” whispered Bitterblue.
“Well,” Giddon said. “Yes. I’m hoping Skye is following my model. Punch Po; go on a long trip; feel better; come back and make up.”
“How acutely sometimes the presence or absence of people mattered”