I'm going to admit to a huge ambivalence about this second book in the Grisha series. On the one hand, I am still loving the world and the magic conc..Show More »epts. But then when it comes to the characters and the action sequences, I'm either bored or baffled. Seems like there would be an amazing story here with different people.
In Siege and Storm, Alina and Mal are trying to remain hidden from the Darkling. But double crosses (from both the Darkling and his allies) will force Alina and Mal back to the heart of Ravka. With a new (and interesting) ally, facing the Darkling in the open rather than in hiding may be their only option.
Book two suffers from a couple of sophomore symptoms: 'manufactured' conflict between the two romantic leads, emasculation of the male love interest, a dead dull, bloated middle arc, and recycled storylines from the first book. It was the same themes over again (Darkling capturing Alina and threatening someone she cares about, Alina trusting and getting romantically involved with a stranger, a large section of nothing but Alina moping/learns new responsibilities, then big action at the end) that made for a frustrating book.
But at the same time, there was an attempt at character growth for both Alina and Mal, though one moved forward and the other backward. Yes, every girl in the story wants Mal and every guy in the story seems to want Alina. That gets old and seems to only be there to create jealousy and uncertainty in the Mal-Alina relationship. As such, it made it hard to get into either character. Mal was an elusive character at best in the previous book - now he's practically inscrutable in his insecurity.
The action scenes were also very problematic for me. It seems that none of the Grisha were able to use their powers for anything other than collecting water or making a breeze. Alina can only do a sickle strike with her powers. Even knowing that an army of smoke like creatures are coming, no one seems to bother to create any kind of defense or train to defend/attack those creatures. We get one crazy invention and that's it. I admittedly became really annoyed that all the Grisha and soldiers were so amazingly ineffectual. As well, the Darkling's new power is supposedly life sucking but he seems to be able to summon an entire army just fine, other than looking a bit tired. It just didn't ring true.
There are consequences for those who side with the Darkling. And a few surprises (with hints that Mal is more than he seems) with a trail leading back to the birthplace of Mal and Alina. I'm excited, despite my lukewarm response of this book, to see where Bardugo ends the Trilogy.
The narrator did a good job and felt right for the part of Alina.
Ruin and Rising is a beautiful and emotional ending to a fantastic trilogy. I absolutely loved this book and I could not put it down. I lost a lot o..Show More »f sleep over this one and I must say it was well worth the sleepless nights. Much like the previous two books this was a rich story with well-developed characters and plenty of plot twists and turns.
The final installment ties up many loose ends and comes to an absolutely satisfying conclusion. Although many were disappointed by the ending (mainly the love story) I thought the author did a wonderful job of pulling off a love quadrangle. There was never a “clear choice” for Alina and I believe the story came to a logical and satisfying ending.
I cared so much for these characters, including the villain; he was so cruel, calculating and absolutely evil but I still found him completely mesmerizing. Kudos to Bardugo’s brilliant writing!
I’m sad to let this story and these characters go, but I look forward to more from such a talented author.