The Grisha Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time, and as such I will probably die of anticipation in the year that I have to wait for the third book, Ruin and Rising (which is horribly named) to come out. That being said, let’s continue…
Alina has escaped from the Darkling’s clutches with her childhood friend and true love, Mal. Living in a new country with the hopes of disappearing, the two don’t get much of a reprieve; the Darkling soon capture them once again. With the help of the sly foxlike captain, Sturmhond, and the rest of his crew, they escape from the Darkling and all of the Grisha that defected to his side when he tried to overthrow the King. With the King sick, the Apparat missing and raising a cult to follow “Sankta Alina,” and the Darkling all but abandoning his control of Ravka, the country has little leadership. It’s up to Alina and her friends to control the Second Army and mount an attack against the Darkling, who has showed an interesting, and frightening, new power. Meanwhile, Alina must fight against her growing internal corruption as her power grows stronger and she feels more and more alienated from humanity. Will Alina be able to defeat the Darkling and save all of Ravka? When the time comes, will she even want to?
Told from the point-of-view of Alina, as was the first book, you can’t help but feel attached to her. She has an amazing power, she can fight pretty well, and she always means well. Well, most of the time, anyway. What was most impressive about her character though, was something that Bardugo did extraordinarily well. She showed Alina’s slow descent into corruptness in a way that wasn’t obvious. It wasn’t like there was a single dark statement thrown into a bunch of cheery sentiments that blatantly stated “oh, look how what she wants to think now is so different from what she normally thinks.” No, none of that. It was subtle, but I could still pick it up while I was reading it, and it was really skillfully done and awesome.
Mal kind of annoyed me in this book. Like to the point where I wanted Alina to be with the Darkling and love him forever. I mean, I’ve actually been thinking that the whole time, but who hasn’t, honestly? It’s obvious Alina and the Darkling are perfect for each other, but I digress… Right, Mal. He was really possessive and cranky, but I guess I’ll let him off the hook considering the number of times he was almost killed and his entire life destroyed, but still. Sometimes, I just did not appreciate his attitude, but I think the point of him acting so annoyingly was so that it would show just how different Alina is becoming from the rest of human kind. Not that all human kind are annoying and cranky, but… I don’t know I’m just going to stop there before I dig myself a deeper hole.
Sturmhond/Nikolai was my favorite character, perhaps of all time. He was absolutely AMAZING. He was hilarious all the time, to the point where I would actually burst out laughing. He was wise even though he was young (and gave great advice on how to be a leader, honestly), slightly ruthless and slightly sweet, just an awesome character all around. Plus, he’s a prince and a mighty good one, at that. However, he was a bit deceptive and sneaky for my taste, but everyone has their flaws, right? I say Alina should forget Mal and just become a queen with Nikolai… At least that’s what I’d do if the whole Darkling thing didn’t work out.
Both the story and the writing were phenomenal. Bardugo can write anything and I would love it. Her humor is so similar to my own that I can’t help but laugh out loud at some of the jokes she makes and the things she says. I want to be best friends with her; I think we’d get along really well. Anyway, the story had just the right balance between action and dialogue, just as Shadow and Bone did. Her diction brought the book to life before my very eyes and I absolutely loved the Russian influence in the book. I really have nothing bad to say about this book. AMAZING!!