#CBR12 Bingo: UnCannon (YA fantasy, written by a woman, about dark-skinned heroine, with several queer characters as supporting cast)
Official book description:
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 . . .
This book, the eagerly awaited follow-up to Graceling and Fire, came out in 2012, three years after the release of Fire. Now, in some book circles, like those of us who are STILL waiting (albeit a lot less patiently and now just sort of sadly resignedly) for books from authors like George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss or Diana Gabaldon, a mere three years is nothing, but it’s still long wait between books. This means that when this book finally came out, I’d sort of moved on from Cashore’s universe and was busy with other things (there’s always so many more out there to distract me). I wasn’t really expecting it to stay on my TBR list for eight years, but here we are. I think that if I’d read it upon release, my disappointment would have been all the greater. I loved the first two books in the series, and Bitterblue was a very interesting character when she was introduced, so having a whole book centred around her seemed promising.
Sadly, while it was lovely to see young princess Bitterblue all grown up (although still young) and now a queen, determined to be the best ruler possible to her subjects, the book as a whole was a bit of a disappointment, and I’m pretty sure that if I’d read this as it just came out, the disappointment would have been all the greater. The book is simply far too long, and the plot takes ages to get anywhere and there are several sections where it feels like nothing is happening. If the book had been a more standard length, of 350-400 pages, with the story stream-lined a bit more, I think it would have been a much better book.
Full review here.