Synopsis from Goodreads:
The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.
Two thieves, who only 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, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
What a great third book in this series! On the cover it says Sequel to Graceling and Companion to Fire, which is true, but all three of the books has a different, strong heroine, one who is coming to terms with her power and who she is.
In Bitterblue, young queen Bitterblue is trying to rule her kingdom as best she can after 35 years of her father's maniacal rule which left the people wounded and confused. She wants answers to her questions and the truth about what has and is happening.
I liked Bitterblue, and certainly felt for her. She is confused and hurt, but is also strong and passionate, though she doesn't always realize this herself. She grows up and finds herself in this novel.
This book is different in many ways from the other two. Even though I wouldn't call it slow, it was not as action oriented. Bitterblue is strong, but in a different way than Katsa and Fire. She doesn't have any special powers and though she does fight to protect herself, this isn't the focus of the book. She has to become mentally strong, as well as responsible because she has a kingdom to rule.
It is also nice to meet up with characters from previous books, especially Katsa and Fire. I enjoyed seeing how they were doing and where their lives had taken them after the last books.
Here's the book trailer for the Graceling Realm series from YouTube: