Bitterblue is such an awesome character. She is thoughtful and intelligent and struggling *so hard* to run a kingdom that suffered so much. She has to find a way to take responsibility and step into her leadership role, supporting the people close to her, finding sense and meaning from decades of trauma and heinous acts.
The darkness in so many of these characters is explored in a really excellent way. Everyone has a different coping strategy, everyone has a different way of moving forward from hardship. Bitterblue’s struggle for leadership and sanity isn’t an adventure you get to see a protagonist take often, and Cashore writes it really well.