Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy Book #2
Related Words: Grisha, magic, light, dark, good, evil
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grow, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always though would guide her– or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
General Overview (Without Spoilers)
After I finished the first book Shadow and Bone, I couldn’t resist picking the next book from the library because I was so entranced in the Grisha world. And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. The characters were back and more developed than before, and new characters were introduced. The plot was so different and unique, and the world so extensive.
I loved every part of the book, and thought there were some issues that I felt there were issues with, the book was mostly an amazing read!
Full Review (*With Spoilers*)
The book starts off with Alina and Mal and we see that there are in a rundowned village, fleeing from Ravka and the Darkling’s forces. Alina isn’t well since she hasn’t used her power in a long time, while Mal is as happy as he can be. And this was where my first issue starts.
We see more of Mal’s character in his book since he sticks with Alina from the beginning to the end. And though he has good intentions for Alina, I felt that he and Alina’s relationship felt too forced. It was awkward most of the time, and with every interaction between them, I disliked Mal more and more. Mal didn’t seem to accept Alina for a Grisha, and I saw this in the first book as well. Alina, on the other hand, also didn’t seem to consider Mal’s feelings, which strained their relationship.
Now, on a brighter (or darker) note, when the Darkling came back, I was so happy. The Darkling is no doubt my favourite character in the series, and his character and personality were explored even further in this book. Even as an 120 something year old, we see him having these flaws as a human, which really made me like him more.
Furthermore, the plot of this book was likeable, but in my opinion, not as much as the first book. I found it weird that they were going back to the castle since they had just been fleeing it. But it was understandable and I loved how Alina was able to develop into a stronger character as she took control of the Second Army.
And as their adventure happens, they meet the one and only Nikolai along the way. His personality was the highlight of the book and I loved every joke he made. I really liked how Bardugo didn’t make him as a traditional prince in fantasy— the ones who usually dislike their roles or is the loyal, princely type– but he was everything that a prince shouldn’t have been and that was great.
And the last thing I wanted to point out was Alina’s character. Throughout this book, we see her getting the serpent’s amplifier and craving the Firebird’s amplifier as well. And it is hinted that she was getting more evil and greedier, and that her ambitions might just destroy her. It made her seem so flawed and vulnerable, but instead of disliking this, I loved how Barudgo made her so flawed and full of mistakes and human. Alina is most probably the most realistic character that I have read in a long time, and it was a good slap of reality that I loved.
4.5/5 stars! From the characters to the plot, I love where the series is heading! I will most definitely be reading the third book and am eager to continue this journey with Alina and co. I would recommend this to anyone who has read the first book and this series to anyone who loves fantasy.
Thanks for reading!
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