This is Cashore's third book, a sequel to "Graceling" and companion to "Fire," and it does not disappoint. I am exceedingly pleased that Cashore's writing has only gotten better with each additional book. She weaves a tale so enthralling, with such endearing characters, that this newest book was incredibly difficult to put down. This installment of the series follows Queen Bitterblue, the young daughter of the frighteningly evil King Leck of Monsea, as she tries to unravel the puzzles and lies behind her own administration.
The part of Cashore's writing I love most of all is her willingness to delve deeply into topics that many others would consider too dark for younger readers. She doesn't dwell on them, though, making you suffer along with the maudlin ramblings of a troubled adolescent, as some young adult authors do, but instead tempers the horrible things with those that are truly beautiful. As the truth about Leck's rule becomes apparent, Cashore makes sure you feel the pain he caused without overdoing it. I simply love her books, and I cannot wait to read more of them the moment they are published.