This is the third of Cashore’s Graceling novels, though this one is more of a direct sequel to Graceling, unlike Fire which was a companion novel set in the same world. This time, the novel focuses on Bitterblue, ten years after the events of Graceling. Bitterblue was the fierce young girl that stood up to her father, the evil King Leck, with Katsa’s help, and found herself in charge of a kingdom at the age of 8. Ten years later, it turns out that things are not all well in her realm. While she wants to be a good ruler, she has been pushed to the side by her advisers, partially because of her age, and partially because of their desire to protect her. Bitterblue knows of her father’s violent past and evils from her own personal experience, but she is unaware of just how badly his influence affected his kingdom, and doesn’t know the right questions to ask. As a result, she is rather unaware of many of the problems in her realm, and sometimes is disrespectful and rude to the wrong people.