I really liked this fantasy world created by Leigh, the plot twist she gave with Alexander's intentions were very *chef kiss*. However I felt that the development of the storyline is a bit slow or maybe it's because something exciting doesn't truly happen in the middle of it. But beyond that, I really like it and I genuinely can't wait to read the rest of the Grishaverse.
This book will cut into you like the sharpest blade and then pour a little bit of its magic into you. This is my second time reading this book. I realize that I never wrote a review for this book the first time that I read it. This strikes me as strange since this has been one of my all-time favorite book series. Like, ever. If rereading this book has told me anything, it is that my love for this book has definitely not diminished since reading it three years ago. I have been so overcome with nostalgia while reading this. All the feels are coming back to me in waves. The first thing that a person may notice when beginning this book is the rich world building. Bardugo has drawn inspiration for her fantasy world from Russian elements and it leaves this world so utterly breathtaking. It is easy to trip over some of the Russian inspired words in this in the beginning, but it gets easier as the story progresses. It is hard to describe the complexity and originality of this world. It leaves the reader so immersed in the story, so full of wonderment. Bardugo paints a clear picture of the extravagance in this world, the things that are less than extravagant, and everything in between. It is easy to live through the main character's eyes. These characters evoke such emotion in me that there are hardly words to describe them, but let me try. First of all, I have to put it out there that The Darkling is my all-time favorite villain. The complexity of his character is staggering. There is so much gray area surrounding him that the reader doesn't truly know how to feel about him. I am a sucker for morally gray villains. Alina is the main protagonist in the story. She is a wonderful character. It is truly easy to slip into her shoes and feel as she does. She is easy to like and easier to root for. At first, she comes off as weak, but there is a strength inside of her that shines through. The side characters in this book are also written extremely well. We get to know the side characters as the story progresses, and it is not hard to see how much depth they add to the story. The romance in this book is a mix of a friends-to-lovers trope combined with a love triangle. As far as love triangles go, this one does not disappoint. The build-up of the relationships, between Mal and Alina and Alina and The Darkling, are powerful. They mean something, so the love triangle aspect really works well. It's believable. And the friend to lovers trope is beautiful since Mal and Alina have been best friends since childhood. Alina has been pining after Mal, but he never noticed her in that way before. Then she is whisked away to become a Grisha and he is left to come to terms with her absence. It is hard for him since she has always been at his side. The entire romantic aspects of the book are written beautifully. And the amazing this is that they are written so extremely well that the reader doesn't know whether to root for Mal or The Darkling. I personally root for both! The plot of this story is utterly clever and so full of originality. The crafting of this story is nothing short of genius, and when you get to the last book it is apparent even more so. The foreshadowing is intricately placed and then things show up later to blow your mind. I am so impressed with Bardugo's storytelling. She is a master of telling stories that will grip you and become a part of you. I recommend this series to everyone! Especially if you are a fantasy fan. This is such a unique world with a powerful plot and complex characters. The story will become all that you think about for weeks. But the good news is that there is an entire Grishaverse to explore. Leigh Bardugo will not leave you hanging.
108 people found this review helpful
Great IDEA for a story. But the delivery was weak... I found parts of the book to be painfully drawn out or repeated which really was annoying and did nothing to enhance the read through. And the parts that were supposed to be emotional were too cliché. The explanation for why certain things were happening felt like an afterthought at times. Way to much time spent on the random "what's Mal doing" thoughts. This book just lacked in substance and felt too "failed cookie cutter" in my opinion.
51 people found this review helpful