Not my favorite of the Graceling books. I think it may have been a mistake on Cashore's part to write WINTERKEEP from Bitterblue's point of view, since BITTERBLUE dealt with her issues so much more forcefully. The other Graceling books really center the personal trauma of their protagonists, but the plot here splinters and complicates, and it doesn't feel like the child abuse sub-plot is all that central. Of course, in any series of books, one of them has to be the least favorite. Doesn't mean this isn't a good book! Things I liked: telepathic foxes, sea monsters, sexually liberated young people, birth control and menstruation as plot points, sky barges, burgeoning industrialization, a series that evolves in theme as the author grows and changes instead of staying stuck.
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