(The Grisha #3)
by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
(synopsis from Goodreads)
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! If you want to read my review with the spoilers hidden, head on over to Goodreads.
Well, that's that. One more young adult trilogy under my belt. I can't say that this was the best one I've ever read, though it wasn't the worst, either. It's sort of in between... and this final book did help salvage my opinion of the series a bit, after the disappointment that was Siege and Storm.
Please, dear author, I want some more...
This book finally took a turn toward the interesting character dynamics and exciting scenes that made me enjoy the first installment so much. We do get to see more of the Darkling and his wicked ways, and I liked the way that the author was able to give us an ensemble cast in a way that didn't confuse the heck out of the reader. (Sometimes when there are lots of characters, they can be difficult to tell apart because they're not developed all that well. That wasn't the case here.)
It's all a matter of taste...
I was disappointed with how predictable this book was. I guessed at certain things, and my guesses turned out to be pretty close. The ending also played out pretty much how I expected it would (although I'd hoped for something a bit different, and I wouldn't have minded a few surprise twists).
My main disappointment, however, was with the Darkling's character. In the first book, he's a potential love interest. In the second book, he's a nearly absent bad guy whose character is neglected for much of the story. In this book, things get even darker, to the point where he becomes completely unlikeable. If you're hoping to see a little redemption, you're going to be disappointed... and I think that that was a huge missed opportunity. By turning the character into something so evil that he's completely impossible to relate to, the author negated the complexity that she'd built into him earlier. The fact that his motive boiled down to simple loneliness was glossed over, and when he finally got his comeuppance, I really didn't feel anything for him anymore. Which is sad... because he was a character that I was quite excited about after I'd finished the first book.
Let's get technical...
The writing in this one didn't seem as strong as the other two books. There were a number of punctuation issues, and some instances of very modern dialogue (which I'm not a fan of in fantasy novels).
I'm really not sure if I'd recommend the entire series. This last book saved it from being awful, but I'm not sure if that's really a compliment. The first book is quite strong, though. Read that one, and then decide for yourself if you want to see what happens next.
Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay. I tilted my head back. The stars looked like they were close together, when really they were millions of miles apart. In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 ladybugs