I had a bit of trouble getting into this book. I might have been because I had read Fire and Graceling a while back and I had a little bit of a learning curve on remembering the story. That said, I love the character of Bitterblue. This book is really a portrait of her as she grows into her queenship. She is a great, strong female character and a good protagonist. Also the idea of the a broken kingdom after 35 years of a tyrant is interesting and thought provoking. The book for me really earned its stars in the final quarter when all of the pieces that Cashore had set in motion in the beginning part of the book came into play. The story is very intricate and very well developed. It is like a finely worked puzzle and I ultimately I really liked it.