This one does follow on from Graceling, being the events 8 years later. Bitterblue has been Queen and is trying to come to terms with her Kingdom. She has 4 advisers that seem to be drowning her in trivial paperwork, such that she doesn't know the facts of her city or Kingdom first hand, it is all filtered by the advisors. There are a lot of issues relating to what people did during her father's reign (no need for details, but it wasn't good) and there is a conflict between a policy of moving forward under a blanket of forgivness of past crimes versus the fact that that allows hurt and distrust to fester. Has a lot of overtones of South Africa's truth & reconciliation hearings. All of which is quite a lot to take in when you're 18 & dealing with everything that goes on about then - like sneaking out of you palace to experience the city at first hand and discovering attraction for the first time. Not afraid to shy away from some big issues, I spent an afternoon immersed in this and it manages to end on a hopeful note.