[A quick note: This is one of those series that grows and grows on you. I felt like Leigh Bardugo really hit her stride by this book. I really hope the series makes it through to the third book so that I can see this one come to life]
“𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐨𝐫. 𝐅𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐟𝐟, 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭'𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮? 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭'𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐥. 𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬𝐧'𝐭 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐢𝐱𝐢𝐧𝐠.”—Leigh Bardugo
The Shadow and Bone Trilogy goes out with a bang in this final installment. This was by far my favorite book of the series. It has tons of suspense, action, high stakes, internal struggle, and loss. The characters aren’t black and white. Not only that, it was such an easy, pleasurable read. There was just so much to love!
Leigh Bardugo continues to impress with her morally gray characters. Even the protagonist, Alina, suffers from the greed of magic and power. She’s not perfect. She struggles with social interactions. She’s never considered “pretty.” And she’s susceptible to making mistakes, just like everyone else. But she grows. She fights for those she loves. She does the best that she can. Her nemesis, The Darkling, isn’t entirely evil either. Some of his goals are noble. He’s always wanted a place for the Grisha to belong. What’s so wrong with that? Throughout this book, we see small glimpses of his humanity that are surprising.
“𝐈 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧’𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧. 𝐈 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐭𝐨 𝐚 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐥𝐥-𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐚𝐬𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐭.”—Leigh Bardugo
And then there’s Nikolai. He has been my favorite character of the series I cannot wait to see more of him in the later books. I wasn’t expecting his character to face darkness in the way he did, but it was a welcome surprise. He continued to be his charming, humorous self.
I adored the world building in these books. The magic system is so cool. The countries and their cultures are each unique between Ravkins, Shu, etc. Everything feels genuine and real. Even the technicalities behind the magic with light was thought out. I appreciated that!
The story was a bit surprising. It took a few turns I did not expect. I can’t say I was in love with the direction it took, but I appreciated that it deviated from being predictable. I wouldn’t have loved it any less had it been more predictable. 𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝟓/𝟓⭐️