Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre(s): YA Fantasy
*3rd book of a trilogy*
~SO MANY UNCOVERED SPOILERS THAT IT'LL MAKE YOUR HEAD GO TWICE AROUND THE WORLD. (That doesn't even make sense but this book has left me utterly unable to think.) READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!~
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
*As I was reading through this review (if you could call it that ahaha xD ) again, I realized that this "review" was more for people who’ve already read the books. So once more: BEWARE OF MAJOR UNCOVERED SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON !!*
*After calming down a little bit more, I’ve revised my rating of 4.5 to 4. Not a biggie, but just thinking about it, I found myself seriously not liking the Mal coming back to life thing. But everything else was FANTASTIC!*
*warning: This isn’t so much a review but just an outpouring of my thoughts. Maybe in the not so distant future, I might come back and revise it to sound more like a review, but for now, here is a big old splatter of my thoughts.*
I don’t care how many times this joke’s been used: THIS BOOK HAS RUINED ME.OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG IT WAS SO AWESOME AND I HATE IT!!!! I HATE IT FOR ENDING, I HATE THE ENDING, I HATE THE FEELS, I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!! >.<
I put off writing this review for a day (or five) because I couldn’t form a coherent thought for hours after. It’s been a while since a book has devastated me so, and I JUST. COULDN’T. FUNCTION. IT WAS SO GOOD.
What was so good about it? THE CHARACTERS. The plot was awesome too, but it was the characters, every single one of them, that carried this book.
I shall name that one name that’s on everyone’s mind: Aleksander!!! I was actually rooting for him, despite how evil he was. Yes I know every action he's done is beyond atrocities (is there a word that describes something even worse than atrocities??), but I was hoping he would be redeemed-like how Luke (Percy Jackson) redeemed himself. Even until the last point, I was like Baghra, hoping against hope that he would eventually redeem himself. But alas, that was not so. (Well, I guess you could argue that it was an indirect redemption; even though he didn’t mean for himself to die-unlike Luke- his death pretty much fixed everything D: ). BUT IT WAS STILL SO SAD WHEN HE DIED. I HONESTLY DIDN’T FEEL ANYTHING WHEN MAL DIED (just because I had a feeling that he would come back alive-more on that later), BUT THE DARKLING. *SOB*
Even though Aleksander was evil, he’s one of the best written characters I’ve ever come across. Like ever. His character development was AH-MAZING. He was evil, but he was so human! How could such an evil person be so human?? He was so complex and multi-dimensional, and his character had so much depth to it. (I was sobbing when Alina said his name one more time. And the way he died was just… was just… UGH. It was so ironic? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but it was just so perfect (odd word, but I’m having word block right now) the way he was killed, that he basically died by a weapon made from his own kind-and yet still plain/ordinary- laced with his own powers.) I can’t say the same thing for Mal, however. Mal wasn't exactly flat, but there wasn’t much development to him. I’m usually a big sucker for those love stories where they grow up together and eventually fall in love, but here, I just didn’t click with him. Maybe I have a thing for bad boys (Morpheus~), but I just couldn’t feel it for Mal. He wasn’t exactly flat… but I felt he wasn’t really in the series, to be honest. I think a lot of it had to do with how we get to see Alina and the Darkling build their twisted relationship, while with Mal and Alina, it was sort of implied how close they were, and we were pretty much just given their previous history, so there was less development with their relationship. I actually felt Alina had more chemistry with Nikolai than Mal (and
the Darkling Aleksander (*SOB*) than either of the two-thank God there wasn’t another guy in this one ;) )because she built up her
relationship with him also. However, I
didn’t really hate this love square because a) no insta-love :D, and b) though it wasn’t the best written,
it wasn’t bad or annoying. It didn’t
really follow the typical “I love him, but I love him too, whining, pining, some
more whining, going back and forth, insta-love” formula. There were so many parts to this love
square, and the relationship Alina had with each guy was so different (one
toxic longing, one true love, one friendship), that it was kind of hard to actually
call this a love square. Love was hinted
with each of them, but one was more of a “like” and the other more
of a lust and a wanting because of loneliness, rather than real love.
The twists and turns of this book were so good!!! I didn’t expect Mal to be the last amplifier (I mean I suspected he was Grisha, but not this!!). AND THE THING WITH THE AMPLIFIERS. THE REASON WHY MOROZOVA MADE THE AMPLIFIERS WAS SO SAD. One thing I didn’t like though was Mal coming back to life (I sound like I’m a cruel person, but I’m not! I promise!). It was just… it made sense why he came back, and the reasoning behind it was actually pretty good, but UGH. It’s not that I like characters dying (just some cases ;) ), but it had more to do with how cliché that was that he would come back alive. I just knew he was going to- and he did, and it was so predictable, and I hated that.
But overall, this book was so epic!! I loved it!! Even if I did have a few complaints, it was really, really good. This book just pulled me in. There are a couple of books where I’m reading the series in real-time. A year passes (or in the case of some books- I’m looking at you SERAPHINA!- 2 years!!) and that feeling for that book sort of fades for me. It’s not all books, and it fades only a little bit, but a lot happens in a year, and you fall in love with other books, and even though that next book is still on your mind, it just sort of dulls. Sometimes, when I read the next book, it takes me a while to get back into it or I never get back into it as much as I did before ( *cough* Forever Song *cough* Allegiant *cough*). However with this book, I was just sucked in right from the start, and I was squealing the whole way through!!
If you’ve survived that whole mess of a rollercoaster, I would love to hear your thoughts on the book and the series below. :)
Thank you so much for reading!:)
Rating: 4 out of 5