Bitterblue is by Kristin Cashore. The third book in The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy. This book is really a sequel to Graceling and should probably be read second before reading Fire. Bitterblue took the throne of Monsea after her father's death when she was a child. Her advisers have been running the kingdom ever since. Now that she is older, Bitterblue is beginning to ask questions and finds she does not like the non-answers she is getting. One night she sneaks out of the castle in disguise to explore her city for herself and meets Saf and Teddy, two truth-seekers who are trying to uncover the truth of the horror of her father's reign. When Teddy is almost killed by an unknown assassin, Bitterblue takes up their cause. What she discovers rocks her to the core of her being. Will she be able to find the truth so that she and her kingdom can finally heal, or will she be the next victim? This is a wonderful story, but the truth of Leck's doings are questionable for younger readers.
Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence) - AC (some mature thematic content).