by Leigh Bardugo
In the sequel to Shadow and Bone we continue to follow Alina, who’s now on the run from the Darkling and the memories of what he made her do, of the lives he made her take. She’s wanted and hunted, but when she has no other option than to fight for Ravka, for the people she loves, she’s willing to sacrifice all to stop the Darkling.
The first book in the series was a breeze compared to this one unfortunately. It took me forever to finish this book, and not from lack of trying. I read every night before bed, for weeks a struggled with one chapter at a time. But to be honest, it was so boring that I kept falling asleep constantly.
I really wanted to like this book, I wanted there to be something here that pulled me in and made me want to continue, but nothing happened. At the same time, things obviously happened, but there wasn’t really a plot here. I realize that all of the things that happen in this book is necessary for the third installment to work, but couldn’t it have been done in a less boring way?
We’re seeing Alina and Mal searching for the amplifiers, we see them get caught again and again, we see Nikolai and life at court and preparations for war against the Darkling, but that’s it, there is no plot here. Which is why it drags. The things that do happen are not bad, they are not improbable or random, the people doesn’t feel one-dimensional and the relationship are not shallow, but without a great plot to pull the reader through the story it all falls flat to me.
The things I do enjoy in this book is Nikolai, I find him incredibly interesting and funny. I want to be his friend. He feels real and genuine, and he’s a spark of positivity in an otherwise dark setting. At the same time, we get to see that he’s not all laughter and jokes, and he’s flawed too, which I really like. That makes it so easy to root for him, to want him to be successful.
The relationship between Mal and Alina is also one of those things that I enjoyed here. It’s not easy to be the Sun Summoner, it’s not easy to be a common man in place full of Grisha either, so there was bound to be trouble in paradise for these two characters. And I think this is done very well in this book. But then again, I’ve already come to realize that Leigh Bardugo is something of a genius when it comes to character development, and there’s nothing lacking in that department in this book either. I’m in awe of how she makes characters come to life.
At the final 10% things took off and I was finally pulled into the story and wanted to read more. But it came too late, way too late.