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review 2018-01-21 13:04
The Demon in the Wood!!!
The Demon in the Wood - Leigh Bardugo

Right now I'm trying to read everything Grisha related. I just love the world.

 

Summary: Before he became the Darkling, he was just a lonely boy of extraordinary power. Get a look into the past that forged a brutal and brilliant leader.

 

I really loved this short story. In the first book, I was super interested in the Darkling. But well, things happened and in the rest of the trilogy he became that person I loved to hate. He wasn't my favorite. Still this was a really interesting glimpse into his life.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-17 15:24
Ruin and Rising!!!
Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

THIS BOOK.

I don't know how to write a review for it (I keep putting it off and doing everything else instead of writing my thoughts down.)

 

I'm just gonna start at the beginning and work my way to end of the story, the part I don't know how to feel about yet. No summary, cause spoilers. Also, this is the third and final book in the trilogy so, spoiler warning, maybe?! Probably. Yes!!! Also this review could possibly be all over the place, cause I can't seem to concentrate enough today, but I wanna get the review out, cause I finished this trilogy (my misson for this year is to finally finish all the series that I have started. Well, not all of them. Some of them.)

 

First, I had problems getting into the story cause it was the first book in the trilogy that I read in english and I felt like I had to get used to the writing all over again. But once I got into it, I enjoyed the writing much more than the previous books in german. I still need to wrap my head around this one, still. It feels weird.

 

I just love Alina and it was great being back in her world again. I just love her journey, from book one to this book. She grew so much and I just love her more and more.

It was also great seeing Genya again and she had such a bigger part this time around, no matter what she has done, I LOVE HER. She's my everything in this trilogy, not gonna lie. When she and the King came face to face in this book, I WAS LIVING FOR EVERY WORD SHE SLAMMED HIS WAY. (Also, I love her relationship with David, these two are just the cutest)

And Baghra. BAGHRA. I have too many feels about her, she's so bitter and sarcastic and everything I want to be in life. Kidding. Kinda.

Also living for the Tamar and Nadia relationship. Everything about this two, apart from each other and together. LOVE THEM.

And Zoya, she's the worst, but I truly TRULY loved her in this book.

 

So after all the love for all these women above.

Last but not least, I have to finally mention Nikolai. Swoon. I love him. I LOVE HIM, SO SO SO MUCH. (I really care for the other two dudes, Mal and the Darkling, at least the Darkling was a bit more interesting but Mal, NO!!!) Nikolai. When THE THING happened, I actually threw the book away from me, cause I was just too overwhelmed with everything that was happening. Especially so close after THE THING that happened with Baghra. At least he came out of this thing, scared but okay and charming as ever.

 

In the middle of all the things that were happening, there were also LOTS of twists and turns. None of which I saw coming, cause I'm mostly blind when it comes to things like this.

 

The end. THE END.
I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm really not sure. I didn't expect it to end like this. I didn't want it to end like it did. It made sense and I'm not saying it's bad, it just wasn't going in the direction I wanted it to go.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-12 00:10
Great for the first half, slow last half, with the last 50 pages with explosive action
Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo

***Spoilers ahead, you have been warned***

 

You’d have to read Shadow and Bone to read and understand Siege and Storm. Otherwise you’d be pretty lost as events follow up right after the first book.

 

The first half of the book was at a great pace and filled with lots of action, bombs, explosions, fighting, magic, all sorts of goodness you would expect for the second book to follow up for an excellent start in the first. It slows down in the second half of the book where preparations for encountering The Darkling are made and you have this whole drama with Alina and Mal going on;

 

Okay I was wrong about The Darkling. I was torn apart when he ended up being jackalope of the year and I was holding a banner of love for Alina and Mal.

 

Then Nikolai steps in.

 

Handsome, charismatic, swashbuckling, people sway to his beat Nikolai. I loved reading about him whenever he came into the picture. It’s like when your school crush comes into the classroom and you realize you’re going to share a table with him. That kind of giddiness is what Nikolai brings to the book.

 

I saw the chemistry with Alina and Mal in the first one, and it just falls apart here in Siege and Storm - understandably so as the dynamics have changed a lot and Alina has climbed up in the ladder of importance and Mal has suddenly fallen off the grid and is just considered a lowly guard of Alina the Sun Summoner. Which is pretty good right? You’re near the person you love and care about, you’re standing guard and you’re close by.

 

No. Can’t be that easy right? First Nikolai steps into the picture and is suddenly looking like a much better prospect and the drama with Alina looking for the Firebird to amplify her powers even more - the point where she becomes obsessed with it changes her personality and makes her more darker, assertive, and she’s not the girl we all once knew in the first book. I really love this personality change in her. There’s a slight whiny voice to it but she really steps up and grows exponentially as a character.

 

So I can see the romance aspect of the book falling apart, but at the same time you ask yourself is it really necessary? I can see the attempt at a love triangle with Mal and Nikolai with Alina in the middle but from what I see, she gets along fine with both of them, but does she really need one or the other as a love interest? I don’t see the chemistry there with either of them.

 

Sure, Alina still cares a lot for Mal but everything’s changed and it just seems like she doesn’t need romance..not yet anyway. Instead, the attempt at the romance is seen as two whiny people who can’t get their own way and they take it out on each other by indulging themselves on the road to self destruction. Again, that’s a very human trait and good on portraying that. The whininess though, I could do without. It caused unnecessary drama in the book, and endless of pages in the second half where the plot doesn’t seem to be moving forward or anywhere. It feels like an unnecessary filler.

 

The last third of the novel though did pick up the pace (did not make up for the whiny drama though) and provided a lot of the explosions and action you had in the first half. Not really featuring a cliffhanger ending, but it’s making me look forward to what I have to see in the third and final book of this series.

 

PS: My heart bled for Genya.

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review 2017-08-29 12:30
Emotionalität über Konstruktion
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Ich bin vermutlich die letzte, die „Shadow and Bone“ von Leigh Bardugo liest. Der Trilogieauftakt erschien 2012 und löste einen verrückten Hype aus, dem ich mich nicht entziehen konnte. Ich kaufte das Buch 2014, lies es dann aber drei Jahre warten. Nicht, weil es mich nicht mehr interessierte, sondern weil ich die Vorfreude darauf voll auskosten wollte. Die Aussicht auf ein High Fantasy – Universum, das vom zaristischen Russland inspiriert wurde, war einfach zu delikat, um kopfüber in die Geschichte zu stürzen.

 

Manchmal ändert ein einziger Moment alles. Seit Alina Starkov, Waise und mittelmäßige Kartografin beim Militär von Ravka, ihrem besten Freund Malyen und ihrem Trupp im Schatten-Spalt das Leben rettete, erkennt sie sich selbst kaum wieder. Als sie in der schwärenden Wunde tiefster Dunkelheit angegriffen wurden, brach etwas aus ihr hervor: eine Macht, von der sie nicht wusste, dass sie sie besitzt. Verwirrt und desorientiert wurde sie dem Dunklen vorgeführt, dem Anführer der Grischa, der magischen Elite des Landes. Er sandte sie in die Hauptstadt Os Alta und riss sie brutal aus ihrer Existenz. Nun wird Alina als Grischa ausgebildet, weit entfernt von Mal und allem, was ihr vertraut ist. Ihre Fähigkeiten sind selbst für eine Magierin einzigartig. Große Hoffnungen lasten auf ihren Schultern. Sie könnte Ravkas Kriege beenden. Sie könnte den Hunger in ihrem Land bekämpfen. Gemeinsam mit dem Dunklen könnte sie sogar den Spalt schließen. Aber kann sie dem Dunklen und ihren neuen Kräften überhaupt vertrauen, ohne Mal an ihrer Seite, der sie daran erinnert, wer sie ist?

 

Ich möchte nicht schon wieder die alte Leier spielen. Also werde ich nicht schreiben, dass „Shadow and Bone“ dem Hype nicht gerecht wird. Stattdessen schreibe ich: der Hype um „Shadow and Bone“ ist übertrieben. Leigh Bardugo ist gewiss auf einem guten Weg und der Auftakt der „Grisha“-Trilogie hat mich gut unterhalten, doch angesichts all der Aufregung hatte ich definitiv mehr Feuerwerk erwartet. Mir reichen die unausgegorenen positiven Ansätze nicht aus, um mich in Begeisterungsstürme verfallen zu lassen. Ich erkenne die vielversprechenden Aspekte, über die andere Leser_innen schwärmen, aber meiner Meinung nach sind diese nicht in aller Konsequenz ausgearbeitet. Betrachten wir zum Beispiel das Worldbuilding. Die zaristisch-russischen Einflüsse sind prägnant, was mir wirklich gut gefiel, weil es eine erfrischende Abwechslung zu den zahllosen mittelalterlichen High Fantasy – Welten darstellt. Ich habe in einem Interview mit Leigh Bardugo gelesen, dass bestimmte Merkmale des Landes Ravka für sie von Beginn an feststanden – die extreme Diskrepanz zwischen Arm und Reich, die Unfähigkeit zur Industrialisierung, die truppenstarke, zwangsverpflichtete Armee – sie jedoch nach einer kulturellen Inspirationsquelle suchte, die diesem skizzenhaften Konzept Leben einhauchen würde. Das imperialistische Russland bot sich nahezu zwingend an und ich finde, sie transportiert die damit einhergehende Atmosphäre hervorragend. Meiner Vorstellung nach könnte Ravka tatsächlich ein Landstrich im Russland zur Zarenzeit sein. Leider hilft mir dieses stabile Bild allerdings nicht, die Situation in Ravka zu verstehen. Das Land führt seit Generationen Krieg gegen seine Nachbarnationen. Wieso? Worum geht es? Rohstoffe? Territorium? Ich weiß es nicht und ich bin bedauerlicherweise nicht überzeugt, dass Leigh Bardugo es weiß. Ich habe den Eindruck, dass sie Ravka kaum besser kennt als ich, weil sie – dem strengen Korsett der YA folgend – die Ausschlachtung der Liebesgeschichte der detaillierten Ausarbeitung ihres Universums vorzog. Emotionalität über Konstruktion. Natürlich gibt es ein Liebesdreieck. Die Protagonistin Alina ist hin- und hergerissen zwischen ihrem reizenden besten Freund Mal und dem nebulösen Oberhaupt der Grischa, dem Dunklen. Ich mochte Alina anfangs sehr gern. Ich fand sie rotzig, schlagfertig und frech, voller spitzer, scharfer Ecken und Kanten, ohne verletzend zu sein. Das Mädchen hatte Persönlichkeit. Dann offenbart sich ihr magisches Talent und sie wird für ihre Ausbildung in den Kleinen Palast geschickt, wo sie sich in eine langweilige, schale, stereotype Version ihrer selbst verwandelt, in eine weitere, austauschbare YA-Heldin, die nichts hinterfragt. Ich war unglaublich enttäuscht. Im letzten Drittel von „Shadow and Bone“ erhält sie zwar etwas von ihrem Biss zurück, wird aber nie wieder die Alina, die mich zu Beginn beeindruckte. Das einzige, das mir während ihrer Ausbildungszeit gefiel, war die minutiöse Beschreibung des Erlebens ihrer Kräfte. Hier war Leigh Bardugo sehr explizit, was vermutlich daran liegt, dass ihr überraschend wissenschaftlich angehauchtes Magiesystem im Gegensatz zu ihrem Worldbuilding vollständig ist.

 

Die Vorliebe der Young Adult – Literatur für Trilogien ist Fluch und Segen zugleich. Einerseits erhalten Autor_innen mehr Raum, um Handlung, Charaktere und Setting überzeugend zu entwickeln, andererseits wird diese Möglichkeit leider viel zu selten genutzt. Ich habe das Gefühl, Universen werden nicht mehr vorbereitet, geplant und konstruiert, sondern impulsiv beim Schreiben zusammengeschustert. Nicht so wild, bleiben viele Fragen im ersten Band ungeklärt, es kommen ja noch zwei Folgebände. Nun, für mich ist das wild. Für mich ist das ein Makel, den ich nur schwer verzeihen kann, weil ich finde, dass zwar nicht alle Fragen im ersten Band einer Trilogie geklärt werden müssen, Autor_innen jedoch zumindest die Antworten kennen sollten. Dessen bin ich mir bei Leigh Bardugo nicht sicher. Deshalb kann ich „Shadow and Bone“ nicht höher als mit drei Sternen bewerten. Obwohl ich Spaß daran hatte, fühlte sich die Lektüre fragmentarisch an. Die „Grisha“-Trilogie erhält von mir noch eine Chance, doch sollte der zweite Band „Siege and Storm“ die Lücken nicht plausibel schließen, könnte ein Abschied ins Haus stehen.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/leigh-bardugo-shadow-and-bone
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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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