I loved this second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy even more than the first one! I loved the character developments, especially Alina’s internal conflicts, but most of all I loved the introduction of Nikolai, he’s such a new favorite character!
In this sequel to Shadow and Bone Alina is on the run together with Mal, hunted by the Darkling, and struggling to make a new life in an unfamiliar land. Ending up on the notorious privateer Sturmhond’s ship, they eventually return, 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.
“There is no ordinary life for people like you and me.”
I loved the character developments in this book! Alina was a much stronger narrator and I felt myself rooting and caring about the characters a lot more, especially Nikolai. When he entered the story, it got me even more hooked. I loved his sassiness and intelligence, but also how he always stood up for what’s right and just and opposed the mistreatment of innocent people. His and Alina’s bantering was one of my favorite parts and what made this book even better than Shadow and Bone. I also loved the glimpses of court life and politics that was added to the story with the introduction of Nikolai.
I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but I really appreciated the way Leigh Bardugo slowed the action part down a bit in order for us to get to know the characters more and how she showed them as persons, not just heroes fighting for a purpose. I especially enjoyed seeing Alina grow and how she handled her internal conflicts, both in regard to her power and her relationships.
“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai? They always end up dead.”
A thing I didn’t enjoy so much though, was the way things developed with Mal. He just came across as whiney, insecure and clingy complaining about how Alina was changing instead of supporting her to embrace her full power. I also still don’t really get the fuss about the Darkling. But I nevertheless found myself missing his presence in this book, the intrigue definitely would have been more intense if there’d been more of him. But on the other hand, I’m very content with how a lot of the focus was on Nikolai. He definitely carried this book almost all by himself!
All in all, this was an amazing sequel that did this series more than justice and got me even more addicted to the story and its characters! The inspiration drawn from Russian folklore and culture makes this series really unique among fantasy stories, and the way Leigh Bardugo writes is just brilliant and so captivating! I’ll be picking up Ruin and Rising right away, both dreading and longing for the conclusion of this magical story! I know who I wish for Alina to choose, but I fear that Leigh Bardugo might not give me the ending I hope for…
4.5 magical stars rounding up to 5
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens Deonn Tracy D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez