Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 448 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Grisha trilogy
Source: From Publisher for Review
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book from the publisher for review. It was a wonderful continuation of this story, I think it was even better than the first book in this series. The third book in this trilogy, Ruin and Rising, is scheduled for a 2014 release date. You definitely need to read the first book, Shadow and Bone, to know what is going on in this one.
Alina and Mal have fled across the True Sea in hopes of escaping the tragedy that ended the last book, and of course in hopes of escaping the Darkling. With Alina trying to hide her ability as the Sun Summoner she is growing weaker and weaker. When the Darkling emerges from the Fold with a new and terrifying power Alina begins to despair. That is until a mysterious and charismatic privateer steps up to help Alina and Mal. Alina decides to try to return to Ravka to save the city she loves, but as she grows in power she is drawn further and further away from Mal and more and more towards the darkness.
This was a spectacular read. I loved the creative world-building in the first book of this series, this book grows that world and expands it. We get to journey to new regions of ice and snow, and sail dangerous seas, not me mention venturing into the darkness of the Fold again. This is a wonderful world and I love reading about it.
I thought that the characters grew a lot in this book as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of Alina in the first book, she was a bit too passive for me. In this book she finds her strength and her will to do what is right. She works to master her power and seeks out more power. Alina does all of this in an effort to help, but as she finds she likes the power she struggles to maintain her identity. Alina was wonderfully complex and had to deal with some tough decisions in this book.
Mal is in the story quite a bit as well. He is supportive of Allina, but also a bit overbearing at times. He just doesn’t want her to change and is starting to fear the power that she is becoming. As with Alina, he is a complex character who is struggling with his love for Alina and what he feels is the right thing to do.
The Darkling is in this story a lot less than in the first book. He is there looming over everyone and creating fear. He’s gained some interesting powers and I continue to find him fascinating. Still he is more in the background in this story.
The character that really steps up and shares the spotlight with Alina in this book is Sturmhond, the privateer. He is incredibly charismatic, witty, and intelligent. He also has a bevy of secrets that will blow you away. He was a wonderful addition to the story.
The plot is well paced and engaging. I had a lot of trouble putting this book down. The writing is absolutely beautiful and flows well. The story is intense, but there is some humor throughout as well. Seriously you have magic, sea battles, epic darkness versus light fighting scenes…it was just wonderful.
Overall this was just an absolutely wonderfully done fantasy read. This book is highly recommended to fans of fantasy, and not just YA fans but fans of all ages. This is a magnificent world with complex and engaging characters. The storyline is epic and takes a completely new twist on the epic battle between light and dark. The pacing is wonderful and the book is impossible to put down. I want to read Ruin and Rising now!!! This is a highly recommended and absolutely stunning fantasy read.