Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore, Ian Schoenherr Let me preface by saving that I love Kristin Cashore and I really liked Gracelingand loved loved Fire. But sadly I wasn't as in love with Bitterblue. Something major was missing for me. I'd probably give this book a 3 1/2 starred review because I enjoyed the book, except we can't do half stars *shakes fist* and I didn't like this book enough to bump it to 4...

Annnnyways, another reviewer Tatiana said that the book was lacking in plot, and while I agree, I would argue that it wasn't the plot so much as the characters. Upon finishing Bitterblue I found I was dissatisfied­­­ with pretty much all the characters, but most especially Bitterblue's. Compared to writers like Melina Marchettaand Megan Whalen Turner (who put the "I" in "Intricate") Cashore doesn't compare with regards to plot, but I think this is especially true with regards to her characterization (especially when you compare Quintana and Bitterblue!) I would have liked to have seen Bittlerblue have a stronger personality instead of one that was so small...and dare I say needy? Also I would have thought Cashore would flex her writing muscles a bit more in terms of the....psychology (right word?) of Bitterblue more - I expected Bitterblue to have more traumatic experiences. I found it hard to believe that EVERYONE but Bitterblue survived the madness of Leck. I understand that her mother protected her, but (especially after the allusions in Graceling) I expected some type of horror to have happened to Bitterblue like with Quintana in Froi of the Exiles . Unfortunately I feel that Cashore was trying to make an 'epic' fantasy and she didn't flesh out her characters enough to hold up all her ideas. In Graceling I felt there was real potential. She started out really well with Bitterblue's character IMO. Bitterblue was a very perseptive person. And in Bitterblue she's not.

And finally, last by not least, the Romance?! I have never been so confused!! A lot of people have had problems with how Cashore has written her female characters and the romances in the past, and this is not the case for me. But what the heck!? What was this?! I WAS SO CONFUSED!!! There's Giddon and there's Saf. First it's heavy on Saf and then it heavy on Giddon. I can understand that shaking up the stereotypes in YA fic is good. But for goodness sake, PICK ONE! And also, don't just make her have a one-night stand and have him poof! disappear!

This on top of everything else at the end of the novel left me very dissatisfied with the book overall. However, this all said, I did enjoy myself. I liked the potential of the book, even though it didn't fulfill my expectations.