Darkness never dies.Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, 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. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her - or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
©2013 Leigh Bardugo (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
It is hard for me to pin point what it is about this series that I just fell in love with. Perhaps it is the minor references to imperial Russia, in some of the words and names. Perhaps its the unique take on the war between the darkness and the light, and it is unique and yet the same war. Perhaps its the fact that it holds you in tension right on the edge of the knife to cut it and not letting it slice through and you listen hoping it will break and scared of what will happen if it does. Perhaps its the twist and turns of various love triangles that never pan out in any direction and the curiosity of who will win that love or if anyone will, and what it will mean if they do.
There is so much about this series as a whole that grabs you and draws you in, though its set in a fictional world, there are hints here and there that make you think of our world, and you ride the balance between the two. I can not wait until the third releases.
I thought listening to this sequel would be fun. I liked the narrator but felt the story lagged a bit. There was a lot of building up to the impending battle-too much time spent on preparation. Alina's character was frustrating; she was self centered and withheld personal information that alienated her from those she loved. It had some surprises, but overall I felt like I just wanted to get to the end of the book.
The beginning and end is great but not much happens in the too-long middle.
The reader is good (and really great with female sarcasm) but some of her characterizations of men make them sound like pimply-faced 14-year-olds. Not her fault. She has a natural high pitch to her voice. Still it gets in the way when you want to see a man as a man. She would be best when most of the book is voiced by youngsters and/or monsters with an occasional adult male presence.
The story has interesting and strong characters. It was unfortunate that the men were emasculated a bit by the voice actor -- especially the mysterious privateer.
The middle of the story had too little action and too much angst instead of building the story to a fantastic climax. It has a great ending. It just takes a long and somewhat boring route to get there.
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