If you’ve read Graceling, and/or it’s prequel Fire, you should probably do yourself a favor and read this sequel! In this story, we learn about Queen Bitterblue’s struggle to return the kingdom of Monsea to normalcy after the death of her father, King Leck. Though Leck has been dead for quite some time, his reign of terror seems to live on. And while Bitterblue is willing to do whatever it takes to help her kingdom recover from the time of her father’s villainous rule, her every move seems to be impeded by the well-meaning advisers she inherited. I very much enjoy fantasy, and especially love stories with strong female characters, so I was happy to see that Katsa [the main character in Graceling] acted as a mentor to Bitterblue.
The reason I have included this book in my Banned Books Week posts is because I have a couple of friends who thought this sequel was a bit *too* disturbing. They thought the flashbacks to King Leck’s time were too horrible, but I thought that the story sort of *had* to be disturbing to truly work. While I can certainly appreciate that some people wouldn’t want to read the descriptions of King Leck’s sick experiments and the tortures he perpetrated, I found that it helped to explain the things I already knew about King Leck and to put the rest of his story into perspective. Maybe I’ve just read too many “dark” books and have desensitized myself, but I honestly don’t believe this violence was gratuitous and, therefore, have to applaud Kristin Cashore for having the guts to give readers the whole story of King Leck and the horrible legacy he left behind.
Happy Banned Books Week!