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BOOK REVIEW: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

It became a declaration. There was no part of him that was not broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken. The cane became a part of the myth he built. No one knew who he was. No one knew where he came from. He’d become Kaz Brekker, cripple and confidence man, bastard of the Barrel.

Sometimes enjoying life is as simple as loving something so hard that it makes everything in the world disappear: Your worries, your troubles, your horrible workday (yeah, that was today)…it all just vanishes from the moment you start doing what you love. For me?? That’s reading. Nothing clears my mind more than picking up a book. It’s best when it captures my soul-my very being-and doesn’t let it go until I choose to put it down. Nothing makes me happier, nicer, or more compliant than an excellent story. Days like today show me just how much reading is a crutch for me-even writing reviews. I had a horrid end of the day today….and here I am now, writing this review (and hanging out with my husband and two pups-my other crutch), and it’s like all is right in the world.

He grinned at her, his smile sudden and jarring as a thunderclap, his eyes the near-black of bitter coffee. “We’ll be kings and queens, Inej. Kings and queens.”
“Hmm,” she said noncommittally, pretending to examine one of her knives, determined to ignore that grin. Kaz was not a giddy boy smiling and making future plans with her. He was a dangerous player who was always working an angle. Always, she reminded herself firmly.

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But it’s not as simple as that-not really. Sure, we can pick up a book and like it and say, ‘Yeah, that was a good one. What’s next?’ But that’s just going through the motions. In that scenario I’m happy, complacent. I’m glad I spent my time reading but…once I put that book down it was simply over. Poof. Gone. Finite. Onto the next guy, story, victim, whatever. And just like that, that world ceases to exist-it vanishes the moment I shut down my iPad. Those books are great to pass time-they really are-but what’s the point of reading if you aren’t consumed, body and soul, by it?

“…You’re a blackmailer-“
“I broker information.”
“A con artist-“
“I create opportunity.”
“A bawd and a murderer-“
“I don’t run whores, and I kill for a cause.”
“And what cause is that?”
“Same as yours, merch. Profit.”

And I never even knew I was going through the motions with books. I loved them all and they all loved me. But then I found books like these-Rare gems that if you are so lucky as to find them, they are woven into every fiber of your being. You can’t eat, sleep, breathe, think if you aren’t near them. If you aren’t reading them, you are thinking about them and when you will get to immerse yourself in that world again, because you can’t stand knowing they exist in another realm while you are stuck in your own. These characters are your friends, they are the people you care about most-above all real things, for the time being-and you are just an utter and complete mess until you can find out what happens to them next.

Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.

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If you hadn’t already guessed, this is that book, and I am here to tell you that it is worth Every. Bit. Of the hype. If you have read Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, then you are no stranger to her writing and ability to create worlds that blow your mind. However…I think she more than outdid herself here. This world, these hard-edged characters that have the ability to melt the ice around your heart…they are unlike anything I’ve read by her before. And if you haven’t read anything by her, you’re none the wiser. But this is a terrible, terrible thing-You NEED to read her wonderful stories…but this book is my favorite of hers, by far.

“We enter from the north as planned,” Kaz said.
Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.

Why, you ask?? Well, anyone that knows anything about the hype that surrounds this author’s work knows that she pulled some of the same parallels between her two series-I couldn’t explain the inner workings of the Grisha world back then when I read her first series, and I can’t even begin to now, but what we have here is so much more my speed (Even though, if you take the time to look, that series was a favorite, as well)…which comes as a complete shock to me.

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“Do you know the secret to gambling, Helvar?” Kaz brought his good foot down on the butt of the fallen soldier’s rifle. The gun flipped up. Kaz had it in his hands and pointed at Matthias in the space of a breath. He’d never been in any danger at all. “Cheat.”

Some people said this was slower-They wondered why it was so popular. And I can’t necessarily say why it worked for so many people-I can only say what worked for me, and it’s probably the simplest thing you could ever imagine: It’s not about blitz or glam or being more than it needed to be….it simply was. The writing was out of this world amazing. Indescribable. The characters were complex, fleshed out, and flawed. And the plot….it’s appeal was in its simplicity: 6 misfits trying to break into the most heavily secured prison in the world. Simple, right?? But it was done so wonderfully, so beautifully, so vividly…that it became so much more than that.

He’d even dubbed her the Wraith.
I don’t like it, she’d said. It makes me sound like a corpse.
A phantom,
he corrected.

Didn’t you say I was to be your spider? Why not stick with that?
Because there are plenty of spiders in the Barrel. Besides, you want your enemies to be afraid. Not think they can squash you with the toe of one boot.
My enemies?
Our enemies.

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Each character had something that made them twisted, something that made them the misfits that they were. Inej, the wraith. Nina, the Grisha. Matthias the former soldier, now a covict. Jesper, the Gambler. Wylan, the runaway….but they would be absolutely nobody without their cunning leader, and my personal favorite character-Kaz, the thief.

“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.”

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And this, ladies and Gents, is where I lose my shit. Kaz, the cunning, the cruel, the wounded, the ruthless street lord dubbed ‘Dirtyhands.’ With a pronounced limp, an affliction for wearing gloves, and a phobia of being touched…Kaz is what we can call a flawed character. He isn’t nice. He isn’t forgiving. And he sure as shit doesn’t get one upped by anyone. The rumors run rampant about him, people know he isn’t to be trifled with…until someone takes it upon themselves to nab him off the street and strike a deal-Break into the most heavily guarded prison, bring the mark….and make it out alive. Death is almost a certainty-no one makes it out alive. But when 30 million kruge is put on the line….Dirtyhands can’t help but to accept.

Geels looked at Kaz as if he was finally seeing him for the first time. The boy he’d been talking to had been cocky, reckless, easily amused, but not frightening-not really. Now the monster was here, dead-eyed and unafraid. Kaz Brekker was gone, and Dirtyhands had come to see the rough work done.

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It’s dangerous, success unheard of, and, like I just said, death is imminent. But with Kaz’s gang, he knows they have a chance. These thieves, liars, gamblers, cheats, etc are in deep, one way or another, and a cut like what they are offered is enough to set them free. But at what price is the cost too high?

Maybe Matthias was wrong about the White Island. Maybe the shears would snap in Wylan’s hands. Maybe Inej would fail. Or Nina. Or Kaz.
Or me [Jesper]. Maybe I’ll fail.
Six people, but a thousand ways this insane plan could go wrong.

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I just…I adored Kaz. I mean, from the moment I opened the book I felt an instant connection-That much I can’t lie about…but when I first met Kaz??? My heart stuttered. My breath faltered. My eyes widened and became glued to the page. I knew, in that moment, that I was not going to have a want in the world. Dirty bastards are so far and few between, but even farther and fewer between is a dirty, conniving bastard that I can fall in love with. He is ruthless, hell bent on vengeance, unbeatable-No one gets over on him-and he is cruel when he needs to be. He had a rough past, something we get to see with multiple flashbacks (YOUNG KAZ EEEEEEEEPS!!!!), and it begins to form and shape the broken seventeen year old we see today. But throughout the story we begin to see his façade falter, his iron clad will crack, and his weaknesses emerge. But by far his largest weakness…is a young spy girl, Inej, he doesn’t even realize he has began to lean on.

“I don’t want your prayers,” he said.
“What do you want, then?”
The old answers came easily to mind. Money. Vengeance. Jordie’s voice in my head silenced forever. But a different reply roared to life inside him, loud, insistent, and unwelcome. You, Inej. You.

The romances (YES, ROMANCES) in this story are heart-stopping, all consuming, and without a doubt some of the best fantasy romances I’ve come by in a long time (I have found quite a few this year, but just saying!). Do you know why??? The simplicity. The baser emotions. The guttural and raw and new-found (and some not so new) feelings that began to control many of their icy exteriors, slowly melting them from the inside out (Okay, okay, I really just mean Kaz, LOLZ)…well…as much as Kaz can melt.

Kaz had heard them, too. Brekker’s hands were stained with blood. Brekker’s hands were covered in scars. Brekker had claws and not fingers because he was part demon. Brekker’s touch burned like brimstone-a single brush of his bare skin caused your flesh to wither and die.
“Pick one,” Kaz said as he vanished into the night, thoughts already turning to thirty million kruge and the crew he’d need to help him get it. “They’re all true enough.”

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I don’t know. It was just…it was all so perfect. From the beginning to the end. From the first fucked up showdown to the final, resolute resolve of the next big job to come…these characters and their struggles, their lack of perfection chiseled their way into my heart. This author’s words struck a chord deep within me, making me a slave until the very last page….and for the last two days after I’ve finished this book. It still lingers in my head when I have a free moment, clouding my vision as I sit and stare at my work computer, wishing I could read just another page, find another hidden chapter…if only to escape for a little longer in a world where the beautiful, broken, limping, cane-reliant Kaz exists. I’d do just about anything to be in his head again…ahhh the torture. My poor, poor, broken boy. AGH. SO. MUCH. LOVE. I can’t even. Whoops.

******************

“Not just yet, Inej.”

I’m sorry. So very very sorry…

because I ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK, so now you all will have to suffer through another Chelsea fangirl pre-review, and then eventually review….because there is just SO. MUCH. FUCKING. WIN.

KAZ KAZ KAZ I fucking ADORE YOU and I obviously have a canal rat mouth because I CANNOT STOP cursing because I JUST LOVED YOU AND YOUR ASSHOLE-ISH AND CUNNING AND RUTHLESS WAYS-AND YOUR HIDDEN LOVE FOR INEJ-just TOO DAMN MUCH. And Inej-YOU LITTLE BADASS! I ADORE YOU, TOO!!!! I just…I can’t…..ah fuck it-

I. CAN’T. EVEN.

Seriously, I want to stop saying that, but what’s a girl to do when she just can’t even think of any words to describe her obsession.

There are none. Sorry…But not really.

RTC.

BOOK REVIEW – Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW – Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

*Buddy-read with my fellow fantasy lover, Kat*

One word before I start : I don’t I’m not sure I trust you, Leigh Bardugo. You let me down before, and ice isn’t forgiving. You taught me that. This said, you wrote a hell of a great book here. Here I am, caring for all these characters, and I’m not gonna lie : I’m scared to death now. Well done.

*bows*

What Six of Crows offered me is a plot that kept me guessing, in a Locke Lamora fashion (By the way, Kaz does remind me a lot of Locke, but as I absolutely adore Locke, I won’t hold these reminiscences against him. More for me. Yum). If the beginning was slow-ish, with a writing, albeit good, that didn’t hold my interest for long spans of time – I needed to pause every few pages – from 25% I was fully invested : once the team was constituted, the characters dynamics just exploded and damn. I enjoyed the hell out of this.

Fantasy readers won’t be surprised by the alternative POV and the big cast of characters and – surprise, surprise – it is really well done, the transitions between the different characters being ones of the best I ever read. That is to say,
✘ No rehearsing of everything but a plot that flows smoothly.
No multiple retelling of the same event over and over again.
No confusion and “who the fuck is talking right now” syndrome : I’ll come to the characters later, but I can safely state that they all have their own voice, thank you very much.

This being said, the success of Six of Crows definitely lies in its complex and interesting characters. Frankly, I feel like everything has already been told about them, so I’ll only put my highlights here :

➊ I say YES to the banter and wary trust between Kaz and Inej (Inej chapters being my favorites). The development of their relationship was fantastic and I couldn’t get enough of them together. SHIP SHIP SHIP.

Inej is a female lead I could adore. She wants everything, and she doesn’t settle for less. YOU GO GIRL.

Kaz is relentless in his scheming and planning, and just at the moment you think that you finally get his personality, he takes a decision so ruthless that you stand there, wide eyed. Of course he’s my favorite character, what do you think. PSYCHOPATHS FOR THE WIN.

Jesper’s tendency to have the last word was hilarious. Also, as my adorable buddy-reader pointed it, he spreads J.C.’s vibes (Legion) that I couldn’t ignore. Bahahaha. Guns. TELL ME I CAN SHIP HIM WITH WYLAN. PLEASE.

➎ Matthias and Nina made me feel instantly – these two have a well rounded love/hate thingy going on and it was a pleasure to follow their fights (because I’m a masochistic like this XD).

GIRL FRIENDSHIP! To see Nina and Inej making fun of the silly men was the BEST. Finally female characters that have something else to do that slutshame and hate each others. THANK YOU.

➐ I truly enjoyed Matthias…. lag between his “morals” and the team’s lack of them. It made for the funniest thoughts and interactions.

Not to mention that the interactions between them were fully enjoyable, sometimes hilarious, sometimes meaningful but never lacking depth.

As I loved the characters, the flashbacks, bringing slices of their previous life, interested me a lot. In my opinion they gave a most needed background and above that, LAYERS to the characters and helped me to understand their reactions. This is the purpose of flashbacks, and not to drown the reader under useless details like some books do.

The language may have been stripped out of Dutch but frankly? I don’t care. I read too much REALISTIC and HISTORICAL books massacring French culture to feel really annoyed by this in FANTASY. I mean, what’s the big deal? Is she saying that it’s Dutch? Nope. So yeah she took words and altered them and blablabla, here’s the sound of the fucks I give

ZzzzzzzzzzzzZzzzzzz

So what? She didn’t create a whole new language? I don’t need another Tolkien. Please not another Tolkien.

This said, I can see how it can be annoying for Dutch speakers. No, really. I read books that did it in French and it WAS annoying. Like a private joke that isn’t remotely funny. I’m sorry for you guys :/. It remains that for me, as soon as she’s not selling some colonialist and white woman saving crap like Tiger’s Curse did, I don’t find it offensive or insulting. But you’re definitely free to disagree with me on this^^

Also, I find the need to point out that I usually read more adult fantasy and that YA fantasy hardly comes closed to it (in my eyes) but I genuinely thought that she did a great job at her world building. Before people complain about the fact she took Dutch settings – In my eyes, world building isn’t only about settings and words. World building is also about magical systems and gang organizations and power and traditions. I need to feel invested and believe in a world. I did. End of story. (or, there are Grisha in Amsterdam and I need to plan a vacations there ASAP. JUST TELL ME)

Oh, about the names. Many readers pointed how ridiculous they sounded and I won’t deny that fantasy books usually offer us better names for their characters. Like Kettriken, from my beloved Robin Hobb. Or is it Rheyn? Oh, and do not forget Froi, Finnikin and Evangeline from Melina Marchetta. Kelsier and Elend from Brandon Sanderson. Not to mention my favorite little cutter, Jorg. And don’t get me started about Jezal, Logen, and Glokta from Joe Abercrombie‘s First Law trilogy.

Oops. It seems that I do deny it. Really, fantasy names never fail to make me roll my eyes. As Francesca would say,

“I’d read fantasy if they had simple names like Jane and Bob from Wagga,” I said. “Why does it have to be Tehrana and Bihaad from the World of Sceehina?”Saving Francesca

(The girl is definitely onto something.) Truth is, I don’t care, I just roll with it. It certainly won’t spoil my enjoyment.

*shrugs*

► All in all, Six of Crows managed to do something I didn’t think was possible after Ruin and Rising‘s disaster (for me, again) : making me invested in the Grisha world again. Well done.

BOOK REVIEW – Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW – Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something I wanted to tell you about, or because I just wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely. He was very close now, and my heart was suddenly hammering in my chest. “I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.”

A few months ago I read a fantasy book (without even realizing it was supposed to be fantasy) and was totally turned off by the completely over-the-top character/animal developments and the mixture of the two. It was both odd and hard to picture, so I told myself I would either stay away from fantasy or be more careful when choosing another candidate. When I saw Shadow and Bone blown up on GR, I started to become curious. Again, I didn’t realize it was fantasy per se, but when I did start reading it didn’t bother me one bit.

I think that’s what makes someone tick-even though a book or something might be out of your comfort zone, all that matters is how the story is developed and what the author does to make you forget it’s genre at all. It’s what makes you happy and what appeals to your taste. (I’d like to point out that while this was fantasy, there were no humans with animal heads present-thank God.)

Alina and Mal are orphans who grew up together and were dubbed unextraordinary with no Grisha talents to speak of. Being a Grisha provides you with a lavish way of living and would ultimately change, say, an orphan’s life forever. But not if an orphan just wanted to stay with their only friend, not if they push whatever talent they possess to the backburner to be with the only person they care for. All these years later, Alina still feels unnecessary and as if she doesn’t belong, while Mal has grown into an expert hunter who could have any girl he wishes.

“I’m not like you, Mal. I never really fit in the way you did. I never really belonged anywhere.”
“You belonged with me.”

Then one fateful night when the settlement has to move across the dangerous Fold (where it is always dark and winged creatures circle above waiting for easy prey to cross) and many lives are most likely to be lost, Alina’s hidden away talent that she had all but forgotten about resurfaces and saves the lives of numerous people-including Mal, the guy she has loved her entire life.

I absolutely adored this story. We have Alina, this mousy, insignificant girl who has never really fit in. This girl who holds the key to possibly destroying the one thing that all colonies/towns/settlements/whatever fear, and she doesn’t even realize her potential. And with newfound power comes new enemies and new friends, some more pure than others, while some have a hidden agenda. You will fall in love with characters so fast it makes your head spin, and you will be quick to despise other characters-but be careful, those you chose to love might be corrupt, while the characters you chose to dislike might just be Alina’a only true allies.

“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”

I can’t even begin to express how ecstatic I am to have read and fallen in love with this utterly captivating and off the wall book. In all honesty, it reminds me of a magical Hunger Games, which is my favorite series of all time, mixed with a paranormal dystopian. And maybe that’s why I decidedly fell for this book so quickly. It contains all the elements of my favorite stories/genres, and the characters were so fun to obsess over. Once Alina is summoned by The Darkling to both strengthen and showcase her abilities, it all starts to move at a fast pace and you become so engrossed you don’t even realize you’re almost finished. Almost as quickly as I picked up my ereader, I was putting it back down again because I was finished.

Witty, fast-paced, and all around fun, I will be sure to re read this again soon-it was just that good.

BOOK REVIEW – Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW – Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


“If you ever get tired of skin and bones,” she called to Mal, “I’ve got something to tempt you.”
I stiffened. Mal glanced over his shoulder. Slowly, he looked her up and down. “No,” he said flatly. “You don’t.”

Okay, so, I absolutely was stunned by how much I loved the first book, Shadow and Bone. I couldn’t believe I had made room on my favorites shelf for a fantasy!! There was just something so compelling about each of the characters that inexplicably pulled me in. And while I still really, really enjoyed this second installment, I didn’t feel that same drawl that made me fall in love with S & B.

I think that some of my reservations are due to the fact that there was just so. Much. Information. To. Retain. It was just a little mind-boggling. And more than that, a lot of the characters were going through extreme changes that not so subtley changed their attitude and caused them a lot of inner turmoil. I fell in love with Alina’s innocence and need to fit in, Mal’s withdrawn attitude formed from jealousy and loyalty to Alina to save her at any cost, even his life, and I even fell in love with the Darkling’s, well, dark attitude in S & B….

Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW – Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW – Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising (The Grisha #3)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


Gently, he took my face in his hands. “I would have been different too, without you. Weaker, reckless.” He smiled slightly. “Afraid of the dark.” He brushed the tears from my cheeks. I wasn’t sure when they’d started. “But no matter who or what I was, I would have been yours.”

Well, for a girl who forgot almost everything, I grew incredibly attached to this story and all these characters all over again. Very rarely will you hear me praise all the male leads in the story, especially if all the male leads are after the same thing: the female lead’s heart. But, in this trilogy, I loved each and every male who was a contender for Alina’s affections. And I think this is why I love this trilogy so much-how often can you say, with absolute certainty, that you would be happy no matter who she ended up with? This is the first time that has ever happened to me. I loved two very much, and one even more for his fearless and noble heart, but I loved all three enough that I swooned for each of their comments, trials, misfortunes, and declarations of love-and not in that order.

Ruby was talking to Mal, her smile broad, her expression avid. But Mal was watching me. In the ghostly light of the cavern, his eyes were a deep and steady blue, the color at the center of a flame.

Three males, you ask?? Well, I believe there was only ever one right outcome for Alina, but that’s not how life goes. We don’t always get that fairy-tale ending where everything ends as it should….but there are many variations that can lead to a happy life, it just might not be what you’ve always wanted.

“We’re going to be traveling together for who knows how long. Eventually, you’re going to have to talk to me.”
“I’m talking to you right now.”
“See? Is this so terrible?”
“It wouldn’t be,” he said, gazing at me steadily, “if all I wanted to do was talk.”

Alina’s life has changed drastically over the last year-once an abandoned orphan with no one to call mom or dad, with only Mal by her side, she is now a powerful Grisha-a Sun Summoner who people follow and claim to be a saint. And there are even bigger stakes on the line than she could have imagined…with the Darkling after her, Mal, and Nikolai, the race to the firebird is crucial-she already has the sea whip and stag, but where is that third amplifier? Does it even exist? And, most importantly, is she willing to risk possibly the only thing she’s ever loved for this final amplifier that will give her the power to destroy the Darkling? Is she willing to pay the price for that sacrifice?

“It’s true,” I said softly. “You are stronger, wiser, infinite in experience.” I leaned forward and whispered, my lips brushing the shell of his ear. “But I am an apt pupil.”
His eyes flew open. I caught the briefest glimpse of rage in his gray gaze before I severed the connection.

I think that’s been a large part of these stories-what is she willing to sacrifice in the name of power and the ability to take down the evil that has plagued their world since before she was even born? Why her? This little orphan that no one knew is now one of the most powerful people of their time….why her?

I wanted to scream, so I did. I tossed my kindling to the ground, pressed my fist to my mouth, and screamed until my throat was raw. I couldn’t stop. I’d managed not to weep on the Bittern or at the mine, but now I sank to the forest floor, my screams turning into sobs, silent, racking gasps. They hurt, as if they might crack my ribs open, but emerged soundless from my lips.

I’m horrible at re-capping fantasy novels with their special words and phrases and summarizing the battles and the towns/cities/countries they occupy-even above I don’t know if I labeled Alina correctly, mind you-but what I DO love to do in my reviews, is talk about da boyz…I’m a GIRL, okaayyyyy?

“I need to keep you safe, Alina, to stay focused on what matters. I can’t do that if…” He let out a long breath. “You were meant for more than me, and I’ll die fighting to give it to you. But please don’t ask me to pretend it’s easy.”

As I mentioned, there were three guys scattered throughout the series and they all had a special meaning or purpose. Mal was her longtime friend from back when they were orphans-they grew up together and she was always in love with him…but until the day she was taken away by the Darkling, Mal had never ‘seen’ her. It took her being taken away for him to realize what she meant to him. Mal is so sweet and loyal and above all-madly in love Alina. Then there’s the Darkling (Is the T in ‘The Darkling’ capitalized or not, damn it?? GAWWWWD I suck at these fancy terms, lol) who whisked her away for her undiscovered talent-he took a liking to her and seduced her countless times…seducing me right along with her with his dark, whispered promises and sultry, dark persona-I loved him and his evil self. And then Nikolai-we met him in book two. I don’t think he’s a person people expect her to end up with, but every time he enters a scene, he does it with a style and flare that no one can match. His wit, banter, and altogether sexy persona were enough to make me laugh every time he entered, but he also had a kind, sweet side that I don’t want to pass over. All these guys were so great in their own ways…dark and tortured, sweet and tortured, hilarious and sweet and tortured….doesn’t matter-I don’t see how anyone could hate any of these awesome men.

Nikolai considered this, then said, “Very well.”
“That’s it? No sage words? No dire warnings?”
“Saints, Alina. I hope you weren’t looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”

One thing I didn’t expect from myself, and I will be abundantly clear-I bawled. I bawled at the end of it all, for the good, the bad, the sad, the inevitable….I cried for it all. And I totally didn’t see it coming. I cried so hard when (view spoiler) Oh, but I SOBBED when (view spoiler) gave me the hardcore feels. Everything about this book was perfection, and I couldn’t have asked for a more emotional conclusion and beautiful ending.

He laughed then. “I know I’m supposed to say something noble-I want a united Ravka free from the Fold. I want the Darkling in the ground, where he can never hurt you or anyone else again.” He gave a rueful shake of his head. “But I guess I’m the same selfish ass I’ve always been. For all my talk of vows and honor, what I really want is to put you up against that wall and kiss you until you forget you ever knew another man’s name. So tell me to go, Alina. Because I can’t give you a title or an army or any of the things you need.”

I’ve waited and waited and waited for this conclusion and here it was… I got so nervous as I started reading because, DAMN THOSE INTRICATE DETAILS I FORGOT, I couldn’t think of a damn thing when it came to names that weren’t Alina or Genya or Darkling or Mal, lol. But as I REALLY immersed myself into the story, those little details didn’t matter as much because the story re-capped and spoke for itself-Thank God, because I would have been depressed if I hadn’t been able to enjoy the story because I was too lazy to re-read the first two. I think it would have helped, sure, right off the bat, but as it was, I truly loved the story and couldn’t get enough. I’m so glad the conclusion was as epic as I’d hoped it would be, because no matter how many tears I shed, I will always remember these characters and their story.

In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach.
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