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Winterkeep

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Something is rotten in the heart of Winterkeep... Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the Something is rotten in the heart of Winterkeep... Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the sky in ships attached to balloons. But when Bitterblue’s envoys to Winterkeep drown under suspicious circumstances, she and Giddon and her half sister, Hava, set off to discover the truth–putting both Bitterblue’s life and Giddon’s heart to the test when Bitterbue is kidnapped. Giddon believes she has drowned, leaving him and Hava to solve the mystery of what’s wrong in Winterkeep. Lovisa Cavenda is the teenage daughter of a powerful Scholar and Industrialist (the opposing governing parties) with a fire inside her that is always hungry, always just nearly about to make something happen. She is the key to everything, but only if she can figure out what’s going on before anyone else, and only if she’s willing to transcend the person she’s been all her life.


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Something is rotten in the heart of Winterkeep... Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the Something is rotten in the heart of Winterkeep... Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the sky in ships attached to balloons. But when Bitterblue’s envoys to Winterkeep drown under suspicious circumstances, she and Giddon and her half sister, Hava, set off to discover the truth–putting both Bitterblue’s life and Giddon’s heart to the test when Bitterbue is kidnapped. Giddon believes she has drowned, leaving him and Hava to solve the mystery of what’s wrong in Winterkeep. Lovisa Cavenda is the teenage daughter of a powerful Scholar and Industrialist (the opposing governing parties) with a fire inside her that is always hungry, always just nearly about to make something happen. She is the key to everything, but only if she can figure out what’s going on before anyone else, and only if she’s willing to transcend the person she’s been all her life.

30 review for Winterkeep

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    1.) Graceling ★★★★★ 2.) Fire ★★★★★ 3.) Bitterblue ★★★★★ “It had taken her so long to give up that key, the key to her cage. But it was a cage that no longer existed, because she’d destroyed it, by herself.” I have been a huge fan of the Graceling Realm Trilogy ever since I first read it after Bitterblue's release. The series means a lot to me because I discovered it right when I started becoming the reader that I am today and the series was something that so perfectly encapsuled all t 1.) Graceling ★★★★★ 2.) Fire ★★★★★ 3.) Bitterblue ★★★★★ “It had taken her so long to give up that key, the key to her cage. But it was a cage that no longer existed, because she’d destroyed it, by herself.” I have been a huge fan of the Graceling Realm Trilogy ever since I first read it after Bitterblue's release. The series means a lot to me because I discovered it right when I started becoming the reader that I am today and the series was something that so perfectly encapsuled all the things that I love in books. Ever since finishing Bitterblue, I have always wanted more books in this series. I wanted to read more about this world and I wanted to read more from these characters. So when Winterkeep was announced, I honestly could barely believe it. After all those years of me putting my wish out into the universe, it finally came true. Winterkeep takes place four years after Bitterblue and a new land, Torla, has been discovered. The nations closest to Monsea is Winterkeep and it is quite different from what we have seen before. Winterkeep is a democratic nation that is way more industrial than any of the nations we know from the Graceling world. Not only that, there are telepathic foxes that people can bond to and sea creatures that communictae with some humans too, called silbercows. In the beginning of this story Bitterblue, Hava and Giddon travel to Winterkeep, after envoys from Monsea drowned under mysterious circumstances. But we do not only follow their POVs but also a newly introduced character called Lovisa, who is the daughter of the president of Winterkeep. “You’re going to be the friend to me that you’ve always been, and I’m going to show you that you’re safe now. We are not going to lose each other. You’re not alone with your fears, Bitterblue. We’re a team now, you see?” I went into Winterkeep with really high expecations, having not only loved the original trilogy but also Cashore's more recent standalone release, Jane, Unlimited. And my expectations were more than met. Winterkeep is a beautiful addition to the Graceling series and world, that feels comfortable and familiar in many ways but has so many different aspects to offer too. As a long-time fan of the series, I would highly recommend reading the original trilogy before you dive into Winterkeep but I will say that I think Winterkeep is very much readable on its own too. There will definitely be things that you won't have context for but it isn't really relevant for the storyline but more so for character backgrounds and relationships. But Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue hold up so incredibly well, even in 2021, that there is no reason to skip those before you dive into Winterkeep. “The fox wondered, as he wondered more and more lately, how any fox who cared about any human ever managed to keep the secrets of foxkind.” Winterkeep is a nation that is very different from anything we've seen before. Even though Graceling and Bitterblue took place in a different land than Fire, they were still very similar in many aspects, with the biggest difference being the existence of monsters in Fire. But Winterkeep is something completely new. In general, the land of Torla is quite different and very industrial. There is also a democratic system in place. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about a land in the Graceling world having trains and airships but I got into the world of Winterkeep pretty quickly and at the end of the day, anything is possible in Fantasy, especially in Kristin Cashore's worlds. I just found Torla and Winterkeep very fascinating and wanted to find out more about it at all times. The more I read of the book and just got a picture of this new land on the map, the more I just fell in love with it. And I think that it is a very refreshing addition to this Graceling world as we knew it before. “She stopped in the middle of the room and stood there with her eyes on fire and her fists clenched, and Giddon was amazed, as he always was when she was angry, at how much power, fury, and force her person could convey. ” I am always very in love with Cashore's characters and I think this book showed very specifically how much she excels at writing different character's voices. We mostly read from Bitterblue's, Giddon's and Lovisa's point of view and I never had any issues keeping these characters apart. The characters and their voices stood out so distinctly, it was almost like I could actually hear different voices in my head while I read the different chapters. There is also other POVs but those have significantly smaller chapters and I don't want to talk about them more to not take anything away from anyone's reading experience, as I feel like you just have to discover that for yourself but they all added a lot to the storytelling. I enjoyed reading from Giddon's point of view so much more than I initially thought I would and I really came to love him so much more than I ever did in the original trilogy. He is absolutely the charatcer that grew on me the most in this book. “Maybe you have too much experience of the bad things that happen when you love someone, and too little experience of the good things,” he said. “Maybe you’re protecting yourself.” But Lovisa is without question the stand-out character and protagonist for me. Her development throughout this book is immense and she goes through so much. There are huge themes of parental abuse, not only affecting Lovisa herself but also her three little brothers. Seeing Lovisa understanding the abuse that she has faced throughout the years and her entire character development in so many different aspects was the storyline that really made the book for me, more than any of the political intrigue or mysteries (althought those go hand-in-hand with Lovisa's storyline as well). But, again, this book deals a lot with parental abuse and in general is quite heavy and dark in parts. If you have read the original trilogy then you will already know that Kristin Cashore does not shy away from truly exploring darker themes in her stories as well and Winterkeep is definitely no exception with that. As in the past, and maybe even more so in Winterkeep, Cashore really gives room to these themes and handles them with care. And I think that Cashore has an amazing way of balancing her stories, so that the weight of it never feels too heavy while reading and there are still so many joyful, happy and funny moments in this story. “I don’t have time,” she said, knowing she could skip her homework, that the homework shouldn’t matter more than her brothers; but also knowing that she couldn’t stay overnight in this house, where at every moment she felt the darkness closing around her like a cold, lonely cave. Knowing that part of the reason she needed to go was to escape the sadness of these boys.” I think that there are many more things to discuss about this book, but I'd rather you explore them yourself first and then discuss with me. I can definitely wholeheartedly recommend reading this newest addition to the series. Ultimately, all that is left for me to say is that after years of waiting and then finally getting a new book in this series, I am left with a lot of gratitude but I am also left with wanting even more. For me, Winterkeep has proven even further that this series and world is so worth exploring much more of and I would not mind at all for Cashore to add more books. And while I'd expect Cashore to introduce us to another protagonist if she ever adds any more books, I also think that even Lovisa's story is far from done. Trigger and Content Warnings for murder, parental abuse, sexual harassment, slut-shaming, kidnapping, blood, drowning. Instagram | Blog | Booktube Channel | Twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    may ➹

    immediately after I finished this book, I wrote in my notes, “god im. why am i literally about to cry I CANT DO THIS AGAIN i refuse to shed tears over the work of a white woman yet again NO” so that’s how it’s going this was very good :’) rtc, 4.5 probably

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    30% DNF Me and Kristin Cashore are through, going our separate ways, bye. I didn't care for many things in this book: telepathic foxes, weird sea creatures, airships, sudden shift in worldbuilding from medieval kingdoms to industrial democratic countries, all simplistic and dull, characters described by how many partners they've slept with - these things maybe turn out to serve some valuable role in the story (although Cashore's "free love" message surely has been hammered well enough the last hun 30% DNF Me and Kristin Cashore are through, going our separate ways, bye. I didn't care for many things in this book: telepathic foxes, weird sea creatures, airships, sudden shift in worldbuilding from medieval kingdoms to industrial democratic countries, all simplistic and dull, characters described by how many partners they've slept with - these things maybe turn out to serve some valuable role in the story (although Cashore's "free love" message surely has been hammered well enough the last hundred times I encountered it in her books?). But, goodness, this novel is such an unfocused bore and the characters are annoying, so I'll just leave them to have sex with each other for increasingly bizarre reasons and be on my way. P.S. Found a new word I hate - "silbercow." _______ Another author revisiting her old series. Ag. I guess, fingers crossed and hope dies last, but I am not optimistic, especially considering how underwhelming Cashore’s last two books were. Maybe I’ll be miraculously surprised? 🤔

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. I'll admit that I'm a bit hesitant about this... Following along this trend of continuing older 2010's-era YA series: Shatter Me, Darkest Minds, Fire and Thorns, Hunger Games, Twilight and now Graceling ... I hope that this doesn’t ruin the love that I have for this series. I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. I'll admit that I'm a bit hesitant about this... Following along this trend of continuing older 2010's-era YA series: Shatter Me, Darkest Minds, Fire and Thorns, Hunger Games, Twilight and now Graceling ... I hope that this doesn’t ruin the love that I have for this series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Elend Wolf

    Well, that was a huge surprise. One thing I think I needed to say from the get go here is, well, this book should come with trigger warnings. It's heavy and dark and sad and devastating. It treats very difficult topics and the kind of things that are just a little too much and should never happen. That being said, I think it did a magnificent job at showing Lovisa's journey and how all of that would, very realistically, be processed. Even if it's not pretty. I was down right bawling my eyes out Well, that was a huge surprise. One thing I think I needed to say from the get go here is, well, this book should come with trigger warnings. It's heavy and dark and sad and devastating. It treats very difficult topics and the kind of things that are just a little too much and should never happen. That being said, I think it did a magnificent job at showing Lovisa's journey and how all of that would, very realistically, be processed. Even if it's not pretty. I was down right bawling my eyes out all the last quarter of the book. I was not expecting that, I loved it. I... definitely need to ponder it more, but first impressions are, quite honestly, pretty stellar. RTC. __________________ I'm so excited to be reading this!!! Even though I honestly believed that the series was done with, it's been years since the last book was published, I've grown warmer to the idea and now I am truly into it. I mean, there's still plenty to explore in this world. I'm so glad to be able to review this before it's officially out. Here is to a fun new read. P.S. I'm really digging these new covers. __________________ Oooh, that cover looks pretty good. Am I infinitely more hyped to read these books just because it has a pretty cover? You bet I am. I just love the colors so much! __________________ My goodness... why is this a thing? I happen to think that the three books we kept were perfectly enough of it... though, if Cashore finally does that crossover more detailed I suppose it could be worthy to read. As it is, I don't know how I feel about it right now. Certainly not impressed. I guess we'll see how things develop.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗

    NEW GRACELING REALMS BOOK????????

  7. 5 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    Woe, for I am bummed. Lets start with the good : where this book really shines is the worldbuilding. While the world had expanned a time or two in the first three books of the Graceling Realm series, it goes even further in WINTERKEEP. That plus the in-book passage of time, and new problems, is what keeps this series feeling fresh and, particularly in the case of coming back to a series so many years after publishing what seemed to be the final book, makes it feel less like the cash grab we so of Woe, for I am bummed. Lets start with the good : where this book really shines is the worldbuilding. While the world had expanned a time or two in the first three books of the Graceling Realm series, it goes even further in WINTERKEEP. That plus the in-book passage of time, and new problems, is what keeps this series feeling fresh and, particularly in the case of coming back to a series so many years after publishing what seemed to be the final book, makes it feel less like the cash grab we so often see. But that said.. Maybe had I not just reread the first three books I wouldn't have noticed as much (though that isn't to say I would've liked it any more than I did..) but none of the recurring characters felt true to form. Giddon, in particular, felt strange as if he didn't quite fit into the shape he'd once been formed of, and Bitterblue.. I don't know. She was a harder character to like throughout the series but she was a character you could respect, to sympathize with, and yet she also felt a little untethered in this book, too. As for the new introductions? Didn't like a single one. The plot itself felt disjointed but I'm used to Cashore stringing us along on a wild ride that only starts to make sense near the end, but this one? I don't know. Basically everything from the characters to their motivations, and how it drove the plot and their machinations, nothing really felt all that solid. I both appreciated and yet hated the inclusion of yet another twisty and toxic emotional dynamic, because it's definitely important to shed light on and have young readers educated on how it's not acceptable, but combined with the fact that I wasn't enjoying the story, or the character who took the brunt of it all? Yeah, it was tough. I think there was potential here, for sure, and I definitely maybe had too high a set of expectations after revisiting and rediscovering my love for books one to three all over again, but.. this just didn't work for me. Not as a fan of the series or as just a reader of fantasy. I couldn't love it, could barely like it, and it seemed to take me way too long to get through. I'm sad. I definitely wouldn't recommend this to anyone who hasn't read already the Graceling Realm books but I would also caution fans to lower their expectations. I have no idea if this is kicking out even more books to come in this world but, despite how I feel about this one, I would still read more. 2.5 stars ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** ---- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  8. 4 out of 5

    shre ♡

    2010 era authors are really keeping us going in 2020.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Don’tGoBrekkerMyHeart

    *cries eternally* This was soooooo good! Okay something that I need to get off my chest immediately is that I'm tired of seeing people in this review section saying this is just another Midnight Sun or Ballad of Snakes and Songbirds (idk if that is even the correct title) because this is not like those books at all. I've never been given the impression that Cashore is writing this continuation as a means for more money because each book has only added to the lore in a bigger and better form. She's *cries eternally* This was soooooo good! Okay something that I need to get off my chest immediately is that I'm tired of seeing people in this review section saying this is just another Midnight Sun or Ballad of Snakes and Songbirds (idk if that is even the correct title) because this is not like those books at all. I've never been given the impression that Cashore is writing this continuation as a means for more money because each book has only added to the lore in a bigger and better form. She's also used her novels numerous times to start conversations in the YA community about issues like feminism, environmentalism (happens in Winterkeep), etc. I'm not going to linger on this anymore because I'm going to switch to my mix of pure, obsessed fangirl and analyst, but this is a note to all those annoying haters. To start Winterkeep takes place five years after Bitterblue. I know a lot of YA people are not big fans of the books after Graceling because they start to have a slower pace, hold more adult themes, etc. and to that I say they sure do. It makes them MONUMENTALLY better. I would highly compare Winterkeep to Bitterblue because Cashore is expanding this world to new lengths I could never have forseen before. It also takes some time for the intense action sequences to happen, but it is well worth it. Just because the action isn’t as forthcoming as it is in Graceling or even Fire does not mean this book isn’t incredible. It’s very political to be honest. Lots of sneaking and scheming. Lovisa, our newest character recruit, is a morally ambiguous teen, at times, who is torn on her allegiances and duty to her home Winterkeep or her to loved ones. Bitterblue, on the other hand, is just trying to protect and run her kingdom while dealing with another continent with insane technological advances (when compared to the Seven Kingdoms, the Dells, and their continent overall). When Bitterblue and crew start to see some mysterious and deadly circumstances taking place, they plan to get to the bottom of it. Winterkeep is another piece of growth for this world. I laughed. I cried. And I most certainly screamed my head off. There's so many emotions that coil and boil throughout this story from the entire range of characters. I liked this installment specifically because a lot of the side characters in Bitterblue come farther into the light. Enigmas like Hava become invaluable to the storyline, and I've always been curious about her character after finding out her backstory towards the end of Bitterblue. Now I cannot say much else because then I'd spoil you all, and that would be horrific because this is an amazing book. What I can say indefinitely is that I went through Winterkeep so quickly that it did not even feel like a 500+ page novel. I'm devouring the lore left and right and just trying to keep up with these marvelous foxes. Ooops I've said too much.. *wink wink* Anyway, this book was incredible, and I know I've said this multiple times already, but I just need to say it again. Cashore steps beyond the bounds of YA to bring in environmental issues to the Graceling-verse and even a darker element to politics than ever seen before. She's always been an author even before the 2010's that discussed topics not yet mainstream, but she uses her fantasy books as activist messages essentially. It's brilliant and valuable. P.S. As a little aside, they’re some changes to this story than what happened in Bitterblue. Keep the 5 years in mind because of course nothing is the same as it once was. People growth, mature, etc. Just like without Cashore's previous books they're some heavy triggers, and I'm going to list as many as I can recall. TW: Animal abuse, child abuse, gaslighting (mostly parental), prisoner starvation, near drowning, sexual assault (not rape but specifically rough, cruel sexual touching without permission), suicidal thoughts, kidnapping, claustrophobia, environmental cruelty/ deterioration, and bomb warfare.

  10. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    how... how did i not know this was HAPPENING until now??? first graceling reread in almost a decade, here i come!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    authors need to know when to let their series end. It's like all the authors of the previous decade have decided that this was the perfect time to come back into the spotlight. First The Hunger Games, Twilight, Shatter Me, The Iron Fey, and now this????? authors need to know when to let their series end. It's like all the authors of the previous decade have decided that this was the perfect time to come back into the spotlight. First The Hunger Games, Twilight, Shatter Me, The Iron Fey, and now this?????

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kilikina

    Thank you so much to NetGalley and Dial Books for this ARC chapter sample in exchange for an honest review The Graceling Realm series is one of my all time favorites. I prayed & hoped Kristin would continue to write another book/series in this world, and I was elated when I saw Winterkeep was finally announced. What I’ve loved most about this series so far, besides its characters, is it’s incredible world building. It’s been years since I’ve read Butterblue, yet when I read this chapter sampler i Thank you so much to NetGalley and Dial Books for this ARC chapter sample in exchange for an honest review The Graceling Realm series is one of my all time favorites. I prayed & hoped Kristin would continue to write another book/series in this world, and I was elated when I saw Winterkeep was finally announced. What I’ve loved most about this series so far, besides its characters, is it’s incredible world building. It’s been years since I’ve read Butterblue, yet when I read this chapter sampler it seemed like only yesterday I read that book. It was so easy to jump right back into her world and story. This chapter sampler was perfect. It set up the story and now I’m dying for more. I cannot wait to jump back into Bitterblue, Gideon, and Selie’s world. ——————- (FINALLY) A FOURTH BOOK IN THE GRACELING REALM SERIES?!?! THIS IS EASILY THE BEST NEWS OF THE DECADE FOR ME

  13. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice The Graceling Realm series came out when I had started high school (once upon a time), and I devoured each book as it came out. It’s unforgettable worldbuilding and riveting characters just hold you in place, and you can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next. Bitterblue, I thought, marked the end of the series until Kristin announced the arrival of Winterkeep, along with a whole new re-envisioning of the series covers. T Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice The Graceling Realm series came out when I had started high school (once upon a time), and I devoured each book as it came out. It’s unforgettable worldbuilding and riveting characters just hold you in place, and you can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next. Bitterblue, I thought, marked the end of the series until Kristin announced the arrival of Winterkeep, along with a whole new re-envisioning of the series covers. To say that I was excited is a severe understatement. Even with quite a bit of time having passed since Bitterblue, I was able to pick up this story and fall within its pages as if I had never left the Graceling realm. This book was not only captivating, but intense, and as Kristin did so many years ago, she made me fall in love with each of the characters despite some of their choices. I didn’t want this book to end. Like the others, Winterkeep does have some triggers, and if physical abuse (in regard to children) is one, I might approach this book with caution. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    NOT HUMBLE, JUST A BRAG You're gonna love it. I can't wait to read the final. NOT HUMBLE, JUST A BRAG You're gonna love it. I can't wait to read the final.

  15. 5 out of 5

    J.A. Ironside

    4.5 stars ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review There seems to have been a lot of doubt about this book in terms of why is it being added to the series now or at all? No doubt this is in the wake of Suzanne Collin new Hunger Games prequel and the Twilight Companion novel, Midnight Sun. I'm struggling to understand the negativity because unless the author seriously retcons everything, why wouldn't you want more of what you love? And if it did just encapsulate a moment you would 4.5 stars ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review There seems to have been a lot of doubt about this book in terms of why is it being added to the series now or at all? No doubt this is in the wake of Suzanne Collin new Hunger Games prequel and the Twilight Companion novel, Midnight Sun. I'm struggling to understand the negativity because unless the author seriously retcons everything, why wouldn't you want more of what you love? And if it did just encapsulate a moment you would rather no one messed with, you can choose to just ignore new material. I know - concept! Anyway, I really enjoyed Winterkeep. I loved the Graceling series in general although my least favourite was Bitterblue, which just didn't land for me when I read it. Winterkeep moves on around five or six years after Bitterblue. The queen of Monsea has adjusted well to ruling and despite her country's financial troubles, has helped people to move forward and heal after the tyrannical rule of her father. After the discovery of the Dells, explorers have also located other lands including Winterkeep. Winterkeep thinks of itself as a more evolved land. It's governed by a president and senate of politicians instead of a royal family and feudal system. It has sophisticated infrastructure for trade, commerce, medicine and education. And it has its own myths, legends and magical creatures. However below this beau idelle, all is not well. Two of Bitterblue's emissaries die in suspicious circumstances and a piece of information shows that perhaps Winterkeep is not trading with Monsea in good faith. Bitterblue decides to lead a delegation to Winterkeep to see for herself - and that's when things go drastically wrong. The themes of the Graceling series have always been unflinching and mature but delivered in a very accessible way. Winterkeep builds on this, looking at the pushes and pulls between family, between differing nations, between progress and innovation versus environmental concerns, between loyalty and integrity. One of the strongest themes is truth; concealed truth, edited truth, the truths you are too obtuse to see or try to protect yourself from and the truths that other people deny you. The prose is easy and engaging so you could be forgiven for not realising how many complicated strands are woven in here. This is multi layered and clever, funny and sweet and poignant. Sometimes it is our differences and our willingness to accept them that allow us to find common ground. I especially enjoyed Giddon's character arc and the adventurous Telepathic Fox's pov. Louvisa's pov is challenging but utterly pitch perfect for someone surviving in the middle of a situation of physical and emotional abuse without really allowing herself to know that's what's going on because there's no room to process it while it's happening. In short, Fire is still my favourite book in the series but this comes a close series. If you're interested but unsure, give it a go. It really is a beautiful addition.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara the dreamer

    This was, without any shadow of a doubt, everything I wanted. How do I start talking about this book? It was complete perfection. Being reunited with some of my favorite characters was just so wonderful, and I couldn't believe that I could read more about them. Giddon, in this book, is absolutely delightful. His growth throughout the entire series is one of the most amazing thing I've ever read, and Kristin Cashore deserves all the praise for how well she turned a selfish, privileged male charact This was, without any shadow of a doubt, everything I wanted. How do I start talking about this book? It was complete perfection. Being reunited with some of my favorite characters was just so wonderful, and I couldn't believe that I could read more about them. Giddon, in this book, is absolutely delightful. His growth throughout the entire series is one of the most amazing thing I've ever read, and Kristin Cashore deserves all the praise for how well she turned a selfish, privileged male character into a caring and refreshing one. Truly, reading about Giddon fighting toxic masculinity left and right while also battling his own demons and flaws is something that everyone should experience. He is such a well rounded character and his relationship with Bitterblue will never fail to make me incredibly emotional and happy. The care and the deep bond they share moved me to tears, and I will think about it for years. Speaking of Bitterblue, I can't tell you how proud I am of my girl in this one. Seeing her grow and understand her own power, and how she should use it, makes me so happy. She has always been one of my faves, but with every book I relate to her and care about her even more. I love how stubborn, kind and thoughful she is, and how she always strives to do the right thing, even if it's not easy. Her insecurities also make her so dear and near to my heart, and I'll always cherish her. The new world we discover in this one is also so mystical and wonderful, and it was amazing to get to see it through the character's eyes for the first time. I loved the whole mystery that propels the plot forward, and all the angst Kristin Cashore put her characters - and her readers!! - through. The suffering was wonderful and oh, so worth it. The humour is also stellar in this one, as with all of the graceling books, and I laughed out loud so many times. Did I really care about Lovisa and the new characters that were introduced? Not as much as the others for sure. But did I still have the time of my life and will reread this book as soon as possible? Absolutely. Nothing, and I will always say it, compares to the Graceling series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maris Bave

    Full review on my blog: The Sea Writes This one was well worth the wait. And it was so refreshingly easy to follow after struggling through To Sleep in a Sea of Stars for the past month. Cashore’s original, brilliant magic is on full display in this one. As always, the setting is so real you could reach out and touch it. It has magical creatures (talking foxes and seals! Icosetrapus cyclops!), but it is also far more industrialized than the Dells or Monsea, ultimately feeling more like our own wo Full review on my blog: The Sea Writes This one was well worth the wait. And it was so refreshingly easy to follow after struggling through To Sleep in a Sea of Stars for the past month. Cashore’s original, brilliant magic is on full display in this one. As always, the setting is so real you could reach out and touch it. It has magical creatures (talking foxes and seals! Icosetrapus cyclops!), but it is also far more industrialized than the Dells or Monsea, ultimately feeling more like our own world a century and a half ago. A lot of the political conflict draws on many contentious elements of the real world today, but (for the most part) it doesn’t hit you over the head with them. They are blended pretty seamlessly into the unique concerns of Winterkeep, not added thoughtlessly on top as “social commentary.”(view spoiler)[ With one exception, the whole thing at the end about, "you don't need to be in a political party! Just bring your own ideas! Hope and all that jazz, rah!" I mean, yeesh. (hide spoiler)] One of my favorite things about Cashore’s writing has always been the emotional nuance of her stories, and Winterkeep does not disappoint. Fire and Bitterblue especially can make me cry on one page and laugh by the next, no matter how many times I read them. Winterkeep was the same way, only with more laughter this time around. ((view spoiler)[Kittens! That cracked me up every time. Also I loved drunk Bitterblue. So funny and so precious. (hide spoiler)] ) Cashore isn’t afraid to discuss some very confusing and difficult things quite frankly, ranging from lying in court to abusive parents to sex. She does it so simply and straightforwardly, however, that those scenes come across as thoughtful and intriguing rather than forced or awkward. Winterkeep was more character-focused than plot-focused, more like Bitterblue than Graceling or Fire in that regard. What could have been quite a dramatic international blowup was shunted off to the side in favor of showing smaller character interactions. Not that I’m complaining, but I think either kind of story would have been excellent. Would have been happy with more action, but I'm also quite happy with what I got. I've never said "oh Giddon," so many times before. He grew up so much, and I'm so proud. (view spoiler)[ I was very, very pleasantly surprised that they're going to have kids! Cashore's characters have never gotten or sometimes wanted to do that before, but I love how each of them winds up embracing a different path, a path that is right for them (hide spoiler)] .

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This review is ALL spoilers, so if you are a fan of the series and plan to read it, go to another review. I had the opportunity to review this book from an e-galley, thanks #NetGalley, #LibraryJournal #SchoolLibraryJournal, #DayofDialogue, #DialBooksforYoungReaders This book left me with the same questions I had about the earlier books in the series, but more so. Who is the audience for this book? The world building is ok, but the elements, especially the political elements that drive the plot, a This review is ALL spoilers, so if you are a fan of the series and plan to read it, go to another review. I had the opportunity to review this book from an e-galley, thanks #NetGalley, #LibraryJournal #SchoolLibraryJournal, #DayofDialogue, #DialBooksforYoungReaders This book left me with the same questions I had about the earlier books in the series, but more so. Who is the audience for this book? The world building is ok, but the elements, especially the political elements that drive the plot, are very simplistic -- which makes you think of middle grade fiction, as do the telepathic purple dolphins and blue foxes. And then there is the explicit and promiscuous sex. So not so middle grade. And then there is a sadism that is a feature of the series. I understand that, especially in a quest book, the children or young adults need to be on their own, but every parent in this series is a true sadist, or a homicidal maniac, or dead, often at the heads of their spouse. The story has no moral center, for any of the characters -- their motto is survival at any cost. So, I can't see recommending it to older YAs, either. The lack of focus for the characters is the characteristic of the series -- they act both older and younger than they are supposed to be. If you want interesting role models in a medieval fantasy realm, with plenty of action and adventure, try The Girl of Fire and Thorns instead. Recommended only for series fans. The adventure moves along, some of the ideas are interesting, and there are a few interesting characters, though the most intriguing, Nev, is not developed very far. The legend of the Keeper and its reality is also interesting, but again, presented and dropped.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    ayyy this cover is doing good things to my eyes

  20. 5 out of 5

    Renata

    Kristin Cashore writes fantasy at exactly the level that I prefer--where there's a note at the beginning saying that she's using days and months of the Gregorian calendar as a shorthand and we should just assume they're "translations" from whatever calendar they use in these fantasy countries. You know what? THANK YOU Kristin, I absolutely have no interest in learning fake fantasy months. (I'm aware that other fantasy readers are extremely interested in that level of fantasy, and to you I say: y Kristin Cashore writes fantasy at exactly the level that I prefer--where there's a note at the beginning saying that she's using days and months of the Gregorian calendar as a shorthand and we should just assume they're "translations" from whatever calendar they use in these fantasy countries. You know what? THANK YOU Kristin, I absolutely have no interest in learning fake fantasy months. (I'm aware that other fantasy readers are extremely interested in that level of fantasy, and to you I say: you have plenty of other books, nerds.) Kristin Cashore uses the time she saves on not defining fantasy months by developing characters and their relationships and that's the shit I'm here for! I saw some reviews saying the telepathic foxes are silly and honestly, can't relate. Love them. Anyway, I spent more time talking about who this book is not for than I did on explaining why it is for me. If you liked the others in the Graceling series I don't see why you wouldn't like this. I re-read the 3 previous books in preparation for this one; I'm not sure that was necessary since this is branching off into a new ~realm~ so it's a little bit like a reboot. But I enjoyed re-reading them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    4.25 stars rep: bisexual brown protagonist, brown side characters cw: parental abuse (emotional, physical, gaslighting) this was so good omg original review: i am LOOKING directly at it !

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cori McCarthy

    First of all, I want to thank Penguinteen for sending me this ARC through Netgalley! This was one of my most anticipated books of next year, and I am so excited I got to read it a little early! Magical World-Building. Fierce Characters. Epic Romance. This book gives you all this and more! Winterkeep was such a magical read, and probably my favorite out of all four books in the Graceling Realm series! It was fast-paced with so many new characters that I found it hard to put this book down. I will First of all, I want to thank Penguinteen for sending me this ARC through Netgalley! This was one of my most anticipated books of next year, and I am so excited I got to read it a little early! Magical World-Building. Fierce Characters. Epic Romance. This book gives you all this and more! Winterkeep was such a magical read, and probably my favorite out of all four books in the Graceling Realm series! It was fast-paced with so many new characters that I found it hard to put this book down. I will try to keep this review short because I don't want to accidentally spoil anything! Let's start off with the world-building! One thing that I love about all Cashore's book's is that her world-building is always so in-depth and fantastical. She manages to transport the reader into the story, and creates these magical world you never want to leave. Winterkeep was exactly that! Winterkeep is a magical place with so many new magical creatures, and by the end of the book, all I wanted was to remain in this world Cashore created. In this book, we got to see some old characters, but I loved getting to know the new characters as well! I loved Bitterblue in her book, and getting to see her and Giddon in this book was amazing! I loved getting Giddon's POV and getting to see a side of him that we didn't get to see in Bitterblue. Also, Lovisa is an amazing new addition to this series! She is strong, independent, curious, and always does what she believes is right. In the end, this is a series everyone needs to read. Plus, have you guys seen those new covers for the series?! I need to buy them ASAP! But anyways, make sure to get Winterkeep when it hits shelves on January 19, 2021, because this is a book you will not want to miss! Final Rating: 5/5 Stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heather M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 4.5* on god i'd die for lovisa. such an angry, brittle, cunning, funny, heartbreaker of a kid. as usual cashore does beautiful trauma writing and grief writing. this one kinda snuck up on me because it doesn't have the kind of large scale devastation leck visited on the entire cast, but gets into abuses more insidious and closer to home, no less difficult to read. but it was such a treat to see bitterblue in the position of taking care of a traumatized child, for a bit. at the same time this was 4.5* on god i'd die for lovisa. such an angry, brittle, cunning, funny, heartbreaker of a kid. as usual cashore does beautiful trauma writing and grief writing. this one kinda snuck up on me because it doesn't have the kind of large scale devastation leck visited on the entire cast, but gets into abuses more insidious and closer to home, no less difficult to read. but it was such a treat to see bitterblue in the position of taking care of a traumatized child, for a bit. at the same time this was the funniest maybe of all the books? between lovisa, nev, bitterblue, hava, the damn foxes??? all deeply funny and distinct voices. i enjoyed the overall widening of the universe. the creature was perfect. and look i had. hopes. for bitterblue that are well established and decidedly not giddon but it's fine, i'm actually glad that i reread the series beforehand because this was very heavily telegraphed in her book, even though cashore says she wasn't consciously intending that. and there are worse things in a love interest than ...basically just pining and being large? my grudge against him from the first book is my business and it's fine. the fact that hava was in all of his chapters just DUNKING on him really made it go down smooth. i love her. i love her. two of my favorite characters are liars and i love that for me. i do want to talk about how much sex is in this book, not because i have trouble with it but because there's so much it really underlines how timid cashore is about f/f. more than a few mentions of queer desire and offscreen queer couples, but all of the onscreen sex is het sex. she gets a lot of deserved credit for how queer her books are, but it isn't treated the same and i don't think that's arguable. to be fair she has started something with lovisa and nev and it's nice to see that in her main characters for once but they don't even kiss and i don't know what her next book will focus on so it's just a bit frustrating.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    4.5 stars The Graceling series is my favorite series so you can imagine how excited I was about this book. Seeing familiar faces, meeting new characters and exploring more of the world is all so exciting. Winterkeep takes place five years after Bitterblue. There has already been contact between the Royal Continent (aka Seven Kingdoms) and Torla where our main setting of Winterkeep is located. Torla is east of The Dells so the world has been expanded even more since Bitterblue. We have five perspe 4.5 stars The Graceling series is my favorite series so you can imagine how excited I was about this book. Seeing familiar faces, meeting new characters and exploring more of the world is all so exciting. Winterkeep takes place five years after Bitterblue. There has already been contact between the Royal Continent (aka Seven Kingdoms) and Torla where our main setting of Winterkeep is located. Torla is east of The Dells so the world has been expanded even more since Bitterblue. We have five perspectives: Bitterblue, Lovisa, a young woman from Winterkeep, Giddon, a telepathic fox and a sea creature. Two of Bitterblue’s men drowned under mysterious circumstances so Bitterblue, Giddon, Hava and some of Bitterblue’s people travel to Winterkeep to uncover the truth. I love seeing old faces. I love Bitterblue. She isn’t perfect, has grown up a lot and is more mature. She has some serious problems with her country and it has changed in five years but is also a work in progress. Hava has really come out of her shell and I love that. She doesn’t have to hide anymore and is so snarky and sassy. I didn’t like Giddon in Graceling but liked him a lot more in Bitterblue. I love how he loves Bitterblue, looks after Hava and his work with the Council. Giddon and Hava really lean on each other and I love seeing them work together. Their bickering is adorable. It took some time for me to realize how I felt about Lovisa. Lovisa is manipulative and snoopy at the beginning. I was like what is she doing half the time. Then after the middle I could see a lot of love and care in her. A bit of guilt and the desire to make up for it. The burden her parents leave on her and how she wants to be better, make a difference and move past her resentment towards her parents. She has great potential to make a difference. I love the silbercows which are like telepathic purple seals, the foxes and the sea creature. Unexpectedly provided a lot of helpful info and insight. I love their roles in this story and the surprise amount of emotional attachment I have to them. World-building is still amazing as always. The descriptions, the different cultures, languages and technology. All so interesting and I love to seeing the expansion of this world. This book is slow. Not the entire time but there are so slow parts. The way Kristin Cashore writes this book is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You get piece by piece in each chapter. At some point you see some of the picture but there is still time needed in order to reveal the big picture. Then you are like “oh I see what is going on”. This isn’t a fast-paced book but I enjoyed uncovering the mysteries of Winterkeep. I’m all for this pace because it is a slow build and I can see connections being made and I truly enjoy unraveling the mysteries. It may not be for everyone though. This doesn’t feel like the end. There are some things that were not quite wrapped up and I’m hoping for another book one day. Fingers crossed! 7/2020: WHAT?!?! What is happening! Another Graceling book! Oh my god!!! I’m freaking out!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nickie

    Nope. Not part of the series. It is disgraceful for an author to try and pick up a series a decade later. Stop piggybacking on your old characters of which there was ONE graceling that made a brief appearance. There are telepathic foxes in this part of the world and that was about the only redeeming quality to this book. This book had tons of sex. An unnecessary and distracting amount. I think all but one of the female characters uses sex to drive the narrative. Have sex with this person that yo Nope. Not part of the series. It is disgraceful for an author to try and pick up a series a decade later. Stop piggybacking on your old characters of which there was ONE graceling that made a brief appearance. There are telepathic foxes in this part of the world and that was about the only redeeming quality to this book. This book had tons of sex. An unnecessary and distracting amount. I think all but one of the female characters uses sex to drive the narrative. Have sex with this person that you don't care about just because you need a scapegoat. Have sex because you are bored. Have sex to show your husband who is in control. Offer sex to lure people this way and that. And obviously have sex with someone you love eventually.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Before reading: Omfg I can’t believe I’m alive to read the continuation of Bitterblue/Giddon in canon. 😱 After reading: Top tier pining. I made so many highlights it's actually embarrassing lolol. We stan a healthy relationship built on trust, respect, open communication, and friendship. How lovely that my babies found such amazing partners who make them want to be their best self. Other jumbled thoughts: - Parental abuse and 'sins of the father' is such a recurring theme throughout the series. - Before reading: Omfg I can’t believe I’m alive to read the continuation of Bitterblue/Giddon in canon. 😱 After reading: Top tier pining. I made so many highlights it's actually embarrassing lolol. We stan a healthy relationship built on trust, respect, open communication, and friendship. How lovely that my babies found such amazing partners who make them want to be their best self. Other jumbled thoughts: - Parental abuse and 'sins of the father' is such a recurring theme throughout the series. - Hava and Giddon's friendship and banter was A+. - Kristin Cashore has revealed that the next Graceling Realm book is in revisions, and Hava is one of the characters. Imagine a whole book about war time espionage with this sarcastic BAMF. I CAN'T WAIT. - Lovisa is the strong female protagonist that other YA books wished they had. Sex is normalized and she said NO to being called a slut. She's cunning but layered. Look at her love for her siblings. Her dynamic with Mari was fascinating. Love it. - Cashore revealed that Nev's POV focusing on her animal medicine studies and her shitty boyfriend was cut in the final draft. It's a shame but understandable. We still got a lot of her story though and I enjoyed every bit of it. - Creature POVs were written BEAUTIFULLY. So whimsical and pure. - Kristin Cashore writes grief so beautifully??? I teared up so many times reading character reactions/processing their grief, even when I knew the character in question wasn't dead. I could just FEEL their devastation. I can't wait for the next book, no matter how many years it'll take for it to release.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sya

    Kidnapped queens and lonely girls; brave, sad men and stressed out foxes; airships and glaciers and a sad and lonely sea creature wrapped up in political intrigue. Gorgeous and compelling and my favourite read this year. Thank you to the publisher for copy in return for an honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐

    HOW AM I ONLY JUST NOW SEEING THIS??!!??!?! Bitterblue shook me to my very core. I need to immediately re-read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Though Winterkeep was not without its merits, maybe we didn’t need a fourth Graceling Realms book after all. Going in, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Cahsore’s return to this series. It’s been a long time since the original trilogy concluded and I admittedly don’t remember it well (aside from the fact that I liked it very much). This one? I liked...less. Though I don’t believe it to be notably longer than the other books in the series, it *felt* hugely overlong. It’s a slow slog punctua Though Winterkeep was not without its merits, maybe we didn’t need a fourth Graceling Realms book after all. Going in, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Cahsore’s return to this series. It’s been a long time since the original trilogy concluded and I admittedly don’t remember it well (aside from the fact that I liked it very much). This one? I liked...less. Though I don’t believe it to be notably longer than the other books in the series, it *felt* hugely overlong. It’s a slow slog punctuated by redeeming moments that—while charming—aren’t enough to stop the reader from feeling mired in an unengaging political plot and entirely too much filler material. Generally speaking, I like Cashore’s characters and am happy to witness their interactions, even the relatively trivial ones. I also continue to love Cashore’s unique and lovely treatment of non-human/animal characters. And major points for diversity that feels natural and not like tokenism. I didn’t love the shift in worldbuilding from traditional high fantasy to some sort of steampunk meets Waterworld hybrid. And while the intrigue along the way is quite good at times, the ultimate reason behind all the villainous plotting and heroic derring-do is um, rather dull. A daring don’t? I’ll see myself out. I also found the blasé, la la la, everyone is randomly sleeping with everyone thing to be a bit off-putting. Cashore clearly has something she wants to say about normalizing casual sex (as this stuff started showing up back in the middle of the trilogy and increases in fervor with each book), but it feels excessive and gauche. There is a big difference between promoting sexual freedom for women and institutionalizing the idea of sleeping with lots of partners in whom one has no emotional investment, nor any interest in forming one. I don’t particularly see this as morally problematic, but it’s kind of an eye roll of an attempt at strident feminism. In all, this one has its good points, particularly in some of its humor, it’s excellent animal characters, and in the always wonderful Bitterblue, but it’s hugely overlong and ultimately disappoints plot-wise. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend reading Cashore’s bizarre and exceptional stand-alone novel Jane, Unlimited instead. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

  30. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there mateys!  "Can’t Wait Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Each Wednesday ye get to highlight a book that ye be really looking forward to.  I don't normally do memes here on me log, but I received this young adult fantasy eARC excerpt from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I loved it and am now looking forward to readin' the full version when it be published.  The stats: Title: winterkeep Author: Kristin Cashore Publisher: Dial Books Publication Date: Janua Ahoy there mateys!  "Can’t Wait Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Each Wednesday ye get to highlight a book that ye be really looking forward to.  I don't normally do memes here on me log, but I received this young adult fantasy eARC excerpt from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I loved it and am now looking forward to readin' the full version when it be published.  The stats: Title: winterkeep Author: Kristin Cashore Publisher: Dial Books Publication Date: January 19, 2021 (hardback/ebook) ISBN: 978-0803741508 Source: NetGalley Well mateys.  I loved the Graceling realm when I was younger.  I reread those books over and over again.  Me reread as an adult was surprisingly not as good but I can't help but be fascinated by the world.  I was intrigued when I saw this new offering.  I wasn't sure at first if I would read it but was too curious and so got the excerpt to see what was happening.  I basically forgot it was an excerpt, got to the end, and was sad I didn't have more. These books are said to be set up to be companion books that can be read in any order.  I disagree.  They build on each other.  A lot of what I read in book four would make a person lost if they didn't know what came before.  I did wish that this new book involved new characters but instead it deals with Bitterblue again.  However, I quickly wanted to know more about the new lands and people and plots brewing.  I will certainly be I certainly do want to know what happens next.  Arrr! So lastly . . . Thank you Dial Books!

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