Bitterblue is the third book set in the Graceling universe, and it is just as magnificent as the first two volumes. Bitterblue is a confused but resolute young woman who has been kept in the dark her entire life — and it is her determination to learn the truth that is at the heart of this story about truth and forgiveness and healing from abuse.
Eight years after becoming queen, Bitterblue is still struggling with the ramifications of her father’s 35 years of rule. King Leck was a Graceling with the ability to alter people’s minds, and consequently the kingdom of Monsea has a lot of healing to do. Bitterblue has decided to keep on her father’s advisers, and they keep her busy with paperwork and promises to implement programs she feels are important, like schools. Frustrated, Bitterblue begins sneaking out of the castle at night — first, to the story places where people share their common history, and then to a shop frequented by two thieves she’s met during her nightly travels. Bitterblue must discover the truth of her father’s reign, because without it Monsea will never be truly free of its past. (DIAL, May, 576 pp., $19.99)