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review 2016-11-13 00:06
#CBR8 Book 114: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

Spoiler warning! This is the third book in the Grisha trilogy and therefore NOT the place to start reading. This review will contain at least some minor spoilers for the previous books in the series, and who starts a trilogy with the third book anyway? Go read from the beginning, starting with Shadow and Bone. This review will be here when you're caught up. 

 

Alina is shadow of her former self, trapped in tunnels underground, "protected" by the zealous Apparat (former high priest of Ravka) and his devoted followers, who worship her as a living saint. She is unable to summon her powers, but has to put on a show for the crowds (aided by illusion and trickery) to placate the high priest. She drained herself completely in her last confrontation with the Darkling, intending to kill them both. Now what remains of Ravka's royal family may be dead, the Second Army is in tatters, and Alina and her tiny band of loyal friends have to figure out a way to get above ground and away from the religious fanatics. 

 

Having confronted the Darkling twice, without having been able to best him, Alina is convinced that what will make the difference is a third amplifier, making her the most powerful Grisha since the legendary Morozova. They need to track down the elusive firebird of myth, and from poring over Morozova's old journals, they suspect they know where to begin looking. Alina also wants to ascertain whether Prince Nikolai and his parents survived after the Darkling's attack on the palace. Having been beaten twice, just makes Alina more determined that the next time they meet, she will defeat the Darkling once and for all. Little does she know that getting the third amplifier could end up costing her more dearly than she could ever have imagined. 

 

As in a lot of trilogies, the first book introduces us to the characters and the world, the second brings our protagonists further into the story, but also brings them oh so low, so that they have to overcome all odds and make it to the end triumphantly. Alina is broken in body and spirit, having nearly drained herself trying to stop the Darkling at the end of the second book. She would have died if Mal hadn't insisted on carrying her away, aided by a handful of loyal Grisha, while Prince Nikolai did his best to rescue his parents and escape, so he could return and fight again at a later date. Hidden in an intricate network of caves far away from the Darkling's reach, Alina can't access her powers at all while she's so far underground. The Apparat would prefer a dead martyr to a living girl, and closely guards his precious figurehead, trying to make it impossible for her and her little band of followers to plot and scheme. Nonetheless, they manage to orchestrate an escape and having had time to heal during her stay underground, Alina is relieved to discover that her powers aren't actually lost.

 

In a series that has already explored some pretty dark themes, this book was the darkest of all. Alina is obsessed with finding the source of the third amplifier, even after discovering what the search did to Morozova all those years ago. The idea of all that power is incredibly alluring to her, even though she knows that it could make her tip over the edge into madness and corruption, turning her just as monstrous as the the Darkling. Having seen her willing to kill herself to stop the Darkling, Mal is no longer trying to keep his distance from her, instead doing his best to help and protect her. For a lot of the book, they are aided only by a ragtag group of Grisha, and the odds of their succeeding in a third confrontation with the centuries old sorcerer are so slim. 

 

I was really impressed with the final quarter of this book, and where Bardugo took the story. I'm not sure she needed to go to the lengths she did to establish that yes, the Darkling is totes evil, so evil, you guys. The choices facing Alina and Mal towards the end are not easy ones, and the sacrifices required to ensure victory are staggering. Some might say that the very end is a bit of a cop-out (and all those people pissed off that Alina didn't end up with the Darkling should have their heads examined), but I felt that due to what came before, it was earned, and the epilogue was bitter-sweet. 

 

While I'm totally on board with Alina as a heroine in this one and didn't actually feel Mal was a total waste of space in this one (he still ranks behind pretty much any of the others in the supporting cast), I am still baffled by much romantic attention she keeps attracting throughout the series. Made no sense to me, and I didn't think she had chemistry with either of them. As a character in her own right, she goes through a hell of a lot of challenges over the course of the trilogy and her personality develops a lot.

 

Based on this book, I would feel comfortable recommending the trilogy to others. I found the first book a bit hard to get into (and Alina alternately boring and unbearable), the second book was a lot more entertaining, while this was a thrilling conclusion, which did not go in the direction I was expecting. Having heard great things about Bardugo's new series, I now no longer feel I would be cheating in some way when I start it. It just seems right to read things in the correct order.

 

Judging a book by its cover: It seems fitting that the third and darkest book in the trilogy has a colour scheme evoking blood, fire and ashes. The firebird that Alina is searching throughout crowns the top of the book, while a dark city appears to be burning in the central image. I mentioned in my review of the previous book how much I love these covers. That bears repeating. They are very striking and I love how each of the books' titles give the reader a glimpse of what to expect.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/11/cbr8-book-114-ruin-and-rising-by-leigh.html
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review 2016-11-08 00:10
#CBR8 Book 113: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo

Spoiler warning! This is the second book in a trilogy. I will be unable to review the book without possibly giving away spoilers for the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone. Which is obviously the one you should start with if you're interested in this series.

 

After the rather dramatic show-down with the Darkling at the end of the last book, Alina and Mal are on the run, trying to get as far away from Ravka as possible. Having to hide her Grisha powers and suppressing her abilities is making Alina frail and she feels constantly jealous of the attention Mal is getting from the women in the villages where they're hiding. Unfortunately, the Darkling escaped their last show-down relatively unhurt, and when he catches up to them, he reveals that he has new and even more terrifying powers. He uses Alina and Mal's affection towards one another to control both, threatening to hurt Alina if Mal doesn't find the legendary sea serpent legends say is required for a second amplifier for Alina, while he promises to kill Mal instantly unless Alina agrees to cooperate with him.

 

Lucky for the continued welfare of both of them, Mal manages to track the sea serpent in the allotted week, and as Alina is both elated at the thought of how her powers will be further strengthened with a new amplifier and terrified at what the Darkling might make her do, she and Mal are rescued by unexpected and unlikely new allies, who want to take them back to Ravka. Now that they are aware of what new and horrible things the Darkling is able to unleash in his quest for world domination, their privateer saviour hopes to persuade Alina to take control of the what remains of the Second Army and the Grisha still loyal to the Crown. With her two amplifiers, she's more powerful than ever, but she's also not sure she's up for the task she's facing. She doubts her sanity, as the Darkling appears to her, though no one else appears to see him. She needs to prove her strength to the remaining Grisha, nobles and the royal family. Most of the populace revere her as a living saint and believe she can save them from anything. All the while, she seems to be losing Mal, just when she needs him the most. 

 

My biggest complaint about Shadow and Bone was that I really didn't like Alina very much. I frankly didn't connect much with any of the three most central characters. I found the supposed love triangle between Alina, the Darkling and Mal completely preposterous, mainly because I couldn't see what was possibly worth loving in Alina, Mal was an oblivious dude-bro who barely gave Alina the time of day, and then there's basically the nefarious villain, who really does not have many redeeming features. As far as I can tell, he's just a scheming megalomaniac, no hidden pain in his back story to make him even vaguely sympathetic.

 

In this book, Alina gets a lot more likable. Mal is still mostly a broody, self-involved, douchy waste of space. He appoints himself the captain of Alina's guard, and then passive-aggressively avoids her and makes her feel guilty because she's trying her best at near insurmountable odds to counter the Darkling's schemes to take over the kingdom. Because he's being such an erratic d*ck, Alina doesn't really feel she can tell him that the Darkling keeps showing up to torment her when she's alone. Another suitor for Alina's hand enters the field (because this non-descript little waif is clearly irresistible to all men, not just because she's extra specially magical, with unique and impressive powers) and I must admit, I found Nikolai charming, fun and clearly much too good for Alina.  

 

The younger of the two princes of Ravka wants Alina to lead what is left of the Second Army, taking control of the magically gifted Grisha who are left (many died or defected to the Darkling's side). He also hopes to persuade his older brother to renounce his claim to the throne, and offers to make Alina his queen. The powerful Sun Summoner, the country's best hope against the ravages of the Darkling and the beloved and charming younger prince would make a formidable ruling couple. Alina, of course, hates the burdens of power thrust upon her and mainly just wants to hide away somewhere with Mal. Then there's the added complication of the Apparat (the King's former head priest) having declared Alina a living saint. So many people literally worship her and think she can do anything and Alina is painfully aware that she is likely to let them all down once the Darkling musters his forces and attacks again.

 

The world building and magic system are fascinating and all the things I liked about the first book are just expanded upon here. Since I now actually liked the protagonist a lot more, plus this book had some pretty exciting action set pieces, the second book in the trilogy was a marked improvement. I remain entirely unconvinced by any of the attempted romances that Bardugo suggests, with what is now a love quadrangle just presenting three differently bad options for Alina. The Darkling - ancient sociopathic madman, intent on ruling the world at terrible cost. Nikolai - a prince and possibly future king, charming and adventurous, but also very calculated, but far too grand for little ol' Alina. Mal - sullen, brooding, jealous and uncommunicative. He's deeply protective of Alina in the beginning, but then gets aloof and behaves erratically for most of the book. I see zero chemistry between them and am still baffled as to why the author is trying so hard to make Alina irresistible.

 

It may have taken me the best end of two years between reading the first and the second book, but I'm properly invested in the story now, and want to see how Alina is going to solve the pickle she lands herself in at the end of this book.

 

Judging a book by its cover: A lot of YA fiction has less than great cover art. Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, on the other hand, have absolutely amazing covers. You can so clearly see the Russian influences in the story from the onion-domed towers in red, with the ominous nuances of grey showing the tensions in the story. The sea serpent that plays such an important part in the first part of the book is cleverly intertwined with the intricate font that makes up the title of the book (as the stag horns of the mythical being in the first book were central in the design of that cover). I absolutely love this design.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/11/cbr8-book-113-siege-and-storm-by-leigh.html
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text 2016-10-24 04:53
Good read for October
Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

I fell in love with all the characters~ Especially Inej and Kaz!! They were meant for each other! And I swear Wylan and Jesper has this thing. If they don't have a thing in the next book, imma be upset. Still though, it was so much fun reading the thrilling adventure about six criminal, and it was soooo unique compared to the other teenage novels. Can't wait to read the second book!!

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video 2016-08-04 19:02

This post can also be found on my blog MissKatiEllen.

 

I didn’t get a chance to talk more about Vampire Academy as I had so much to cram in. Although I struggled with Rose to begin with I love how she developed and matured, I especially loved that Mead separated Lissa and Rose. It completely changed the game. Rose had to deal with the choices she made, deciding to leave her life behind to track down the man she loved without so much as a explanation could have broken the girls friendship. And choosing to leave meant she could not longer be there to protect Lissa, but being bonded through spirit Rose had to share every moment she couldn’t be there for her. And for Lissa it meant putting her trust in someone who didn’t share a bond, trusting that Rose would come back. Not to mention dealing with the responsibilities and pressures that come with living at Court.

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review 2016-07-22 14:03
Eisige Wellen // Siege and Storm
Grischa: Eisige Wellen - Leigh Bardugo,Henning Ahrens

German and english review

 

 

Es ist schon eine Weile her, dass ich das erste Buch in der Trilogie durchgelesen habe, trotzdem ist es mir super leicht gefallen wieder in die Geschichte reinzufinden. Ich mochte ja schon den ersten Teil sehr, der zweite hier hat mir sogar noch besser gefallen.

 

Es gab einfach so viel Spannung und kaum einen Moment der Ruhe, deswegen hat sich das Buch wirklich auch sehr schnell lesen lassen und ich bin nur so über die Seiten geflogen. Ich fande es richtig gut wie sich die Geschichte entwickelt hat und ich bin gespannt was da sonst noch so im nächsten und letztem Buch passiert.

 

Charaktere. Alina war wirklich an manchen Stellen total frustrierend aber ich mag sie einfach wirklich richtig sehr. Sie ist ein richtig starker Charakter. Von Genja haben wir diesmal nicht so viel gesehen, erst dann zum Ende ist sie aufgetaucht und hat mir das Herz gebrochen. Ach, die Arme :(((( Sie gehört einfach zu meinen Lieblingsnebencharakteren. Neue Charaktere haben wir auch, davon mochte ich besonders Nikolaj, Tamar und Tolja.

 

Kommen wir gleich zu den Beziehungen. Ich kann einfach absolut nichts mit Alina und Maljen anfangen. Aber auch mit Alina und dem Dunklen tu ich mich schwer (was bis zum Ende des ersten Buches ja total anders ausgesehen hatte.). Die Schlagabtausche zwischen Alina und Nikolaj haben dann mein Herz wieder ein bisschen schneller schlagen lassen.

 

Alles in allem mochte ich den Teil wirklich sehr und bin gespannt wie es am Ende ausgeht. Ich warte aber noch aufs Taschenbuch damit es auch zu den Rest meiner Bücher passt. Hoffentlich beeilen sie sich.

 

***

 

It's been a while since I have read the first book in this trilogy but it was super easy to get back into the story and the world. I really enjoyed the first part but I loved the second one even more.

 

There was so much going on and so many things happened so fast, that I just flew through the pages and could read the whole thing pretty fast. I liked how the story developed and I can't wait to see where things are going in the next and last book.

 

Characters. Alina war really frustrating sometimes but I just really like her a alot. She's such a strong character. We didn't see much of Genja this time, towards the end she came back into the story and broke my heart. That poor thing :((((( she is just one of my favorite side charactes and I love her so much. New characters that I really liked were Nikolaj, Tamar and Tolja.

 

Going straight to the relationships. I just don't feel anything when it comes to Alina an Maljen. The same goes for Alina and The Darkling (I loved them so much in the first book until the end happened.). But I really loved the sass-fest that was Alina and Nikolaj. These two made my heart beat a little bit faster.

 

Overall I liked the book a lot and I can't wait to see how this series will end. But I'm gonna wait for the Paperback to come out. I want them to match. Hopefully they hurry up.

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