[A quick note: This is the second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. If you haven’t read the first, or don’t want spoilers, then you should probably skip this. You can read my review for the first book HERE. That being said, I was hoping to get to this in April after reading the first but with such a long TBR and so many other book review obligations, it got pushed off. As with the first, it was a nice interlude read between some of the larger more dense books I’m reviewing.]
“ 𝗜 𝘄𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵. 𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝗹𝗼𝗱𝗴𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝘆𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲, 𝗜 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘁 𝗮 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁. 𝗜 𝘄𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹.”—Leigh Bardugo
Hunted, Alina and Mal flee across the True Sea in hopes of disappearing, but Alina cannot outrun her past. The Darkling survived the Shadow Fold and emerges with a terrifying new power, one Alina cannot hope to conquer. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to her home country in hopes of saving it. But as her power grows, she grows farther away from Mal. Forced to make an impossible choice, Alina must choose between her love, her power, and her country.
Bardugo takes us deeper into the Grishaverse, challenging Alina’s character in new ways. The game has changed. Alina is faced with more conflict than ever before. Everything is a battle. Her growing power. The Darkling. Her relationship for Mal. The crown. She’s forced to fight for everything. We see her growing and changing to the point where she becomes the embodiment of strength. But this takes its tole on her overall.
The pace really picks up in this one. Unlike the first installment, things happen quickly. This keeps the pages flying. I really enjoyed all the action, intrigue, and conflict. I especially liked the edition of Stormhund’s character. He adds so much swagger and banter to this book. I was so excited to see him emerge after getting a glimpse of him in Crooked Kingdom. I was practically cheering.
While this book (and the whole trilogy) is obviously written for a younger audience, I still found myself thoroughly enjoying it. There are still some deeper themes centering around Alina’s character. There’s enough political intrigue without being overbearing. Still lots of Grisha magic.
I do want to mention how I continue to be impressed with the world building. The Grishaverse feels so real. So many details fleshed out. I love an immersive setting like this one. It made escaping into this series an absolute pleasure. Can’t wait for the third and final book in this trilogy. 𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝟰/𝟱⭐️