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Written by: Kristin Cashore.
Book three of the Graceling Realm.
Bitterblue is now Queen of Monsea. After 35 years of horror under her mind-bending Graced father, Leck, the kingdom can finally begin healing. All of Bitterblue's advisors recommend that everything possible be done to burry the past and move on to a brighter future. But everything around Bitterblue hints at memories she can barely remember: times spent in castle near her father, when he used his terrible Grace on her and her mother, haunt her. She needs to know the truth, while so many others seem to need to forget.
While her councilors tell her everything in the kingdom is progressing well, the people are content, and the country has begun healing under her reign, Bitterblue begins to sense that some things do not match up. She begins sneaking out of the castle at night to learn the truth about her people and the city. What she finds is not what she expected; the story rooms that have sprung up around the city enchant her, though some of the stories do not match up with the history she knows. She also runs into a curious pair: the ever trusting Teddy, and the Graceling Leinid Saf. The two of them draw her into their world, which is full of more danger than she expected for a thief working to right the wrongs Leck did and a book printer trying to teach people to read. The more time she spends with them, the more one thing becomes clear to Bitterblue: someone is trying to blot out every memory of Leck, even going so far as to attack the Queen herself to keep her from hunting for the truth.
Bitterblue has powerful friends, but the deeper she digs into her own past the more she must question who she can trust. Like her castle, built to confuse and entrap the unprepared, the conspiracy surrounding the erasing of Leck's actions have trapped Bitterblue. She must find someone to trust, but who? Her dearest friends are busy plotting the overthrow of despotic kings in the surrounding countries; her dearest advisors, the men who keep the kingdom running, are mentally fragile because of their time under her psychopathic father. Can she trust this Leinid Graceling and his printer friend? Can she trust anyone? Or will Leck's madness continue to haunt Monsea long after his death? Only time (and reading the book) will tell.