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Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3)
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 . . .
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4 / 5) I was so hesitant to read this book, as book 2 was not my favorite. However, I grew into it quickly and enjoyed it.
Bitterblue was rescued in book 1 from a terrible father with a horrific Grace. Graces are a form of abilities people have and Leck’s (her father) was my favorite.
Now I say favorite as in it’s the most entertaining. As far as reading about his Grace, it made the most drama, the most turmoil and the most chaos. That is fascinating. In and of itself, the Grace is truly horrifying.
Bitterblue is ruling her kingdom and trying to repair her people from her fathers reign. Even 10 years later, so much is negatively affected by him.
I loved seeing the steps she was taking to heal her kingdom. While she didn’t feel like a Queen, she was the best description of one. She’s loving and loyal and truly tries to do right. I was worried about hating her character at one point but I see that that was unfounded. Phew!
While the book is full of conspiracies and wrongdoings, it still had a beautiful message about love and mental health. It wrapped up the story nicely at the end.
Thank you to Penguin Teen for the read-along!
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A man is regularly drunk and others have to vouch for him. Multiple times.
Many people are drunk at a celebration.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*Minor LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A man favors men for relationships. He refuses marriage to a woman. A young woman wonders about how his preference for men affects his family. She wonders about their relationship and who has the power in bed.
A man grabs a young woman and kisses her forcefully. She tries to fight him off.
A young woman notes her breasts are small and misshapen as she looks at herself naked in the mirror.
A woman gives a young woman birth control herbs.
A man briefly kisses a young woman for a cultural tradition. Another man does too and she playfully bites him.
A man and young woman kiss. She realizes their clothes are in the way of the touching she wants.
Two women are in a relationship and want one of their brothers to help them with a baby.
A young woman believes her father raped her and her mother when she was young. He forced a man to rape young girls.
A young woman kisses a man. He asks if she’s certain she wants this. She says yes. Sex implied, no details. It then speaks of “after.” She had never seen a man naked and decided she needed a few minutes. So she went to him and knelt. No details. She later takes herbs for birth control.
A young woman kisses a man, he kisses back.
In a different country same sex marriage is allowed.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A husband pulls on his wife’s arm painfully. It’s evident he hurts her regularly.
A father says his young daughters punishment for disobedience will be that he will cut off her mom’s finger. The next time, he will make her cut off her mom’s finger. He then slaps her. Later he punches his wife in the face.
A man is stabbed in the gut. He is unconscious and dying when a healer starts work on him.
A man knocks a man out with the hilt of his dagger.
A man holds a knife to a young woman’s throat. She stabs him with a knife in the shin. She then plunged the knife up into his chest, under his breastbone and felt blood pour over her hands.
A man has stolen many things for a king, including children.
A man is kicked and punched by a group of men.
A man punches his wife.
Someone grabs a young woman but is scared off. She’s aching and has a gash on her head.
A man broke a man’s arm.
A young woman is tackled. Her arm breaks underneath her. A woman sits on her and chokes her. She falls unconscious from the pain. It was an attempted kidnapping.
Thousands of bones are found in a river. Presumably murdered. Many have evidence of sawing.
A young woman reads about a man causing young girls to bleed, switching people’s eyes, many dying during his experiments so he’s ties and gags them. He admits to killing more men. He talks of their screams and pain then “punish(ing)” them. Two women he “keeps for himself” and uses knives. He forced many men to perform “atrocities” on others (eludes to rape and physical harm, death, torture but no details).
A man is found unconscious with a gash on his head.
Previously, a man kidnapped two women and killed one.
Potentially Intense Themes
A man has burn scars. His parents died in the fire that burned him.
A man’s body is found. It has been in the river for days and is unrecognizable. People verify him by his rings.
A man tries to jump over a bridge. A young woman grabs him and holds a sword to him. He jumps and dies.
A man hangs himself in prison.
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