Author: Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 6 out of 10
** Spoiler Alert: This is the second of a series. Read the review for Shadow and Bone HERE **
Summary (thanks to the siege of Goodreads): 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. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. 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 grows, 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 thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
My Thinking Stuff: This novel began much differently than I had anticipated. I was extremely excited for this novel but I didn't really know what was going to come of it. After all, the Darkling had been killed. He was gone. Except that he wasn't gone at all. Curses!
Can we just take a moment to rant and rave about how awesome their new friend is? I refuse to spoil this novel complete so I'll just say that he is wonderfully sarcastic and full of interesting and exciting secrets. I liked that his secrets remained as such until the reader needed to know what was happening. I like that there are other characters with different goals and plans all working and living together at once. I despise when I know every single detail of a novel while I'm reading it. Books like that lack surprise. There is a reason why people don't always know what everyone around them is thinking. It's the same thing in novels. Knowing everyone's plots and plans removes any traces of intrigue a novel might have started out with. This novel doesn't have that problem, even after we start getting little glimpses into what is happening with the Darkling.
This novel was a satisfactory continuation of this series. However, it was definitely and very obviously the middle book in a trilogy. There was a lot of connective tissue that lacked its own purpose at the current point in time. It was there but why? We don't need to know yet. Yes, the plot continued on its path and moved the story forward but it was pushing it towards the third novel more than it was pushing towards a resolution in the second. It's not really surprising.
So: I can't tell you why I like this series so much. It's hardly more than average but I have a serious drive to finish it. I think that I love the characters and their interactions more than anything else. I'll get back to you on that.