My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 stars)
Date Started: 7/18 — Date Finished: 7/25
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Recommended for People Who Like: The Six of Crows duology, villains, monsters, dark/eerie/creepy settings, plot-driven books
Alina and Mal have successfully escaped the grips of the Darkling — but not for long. The Darkling seems to be omnipresent, omniscient, and now has a new, even more terrifying ability: he can create shadow creatures out of darkness. Alina knows the Darkling needs to be stopped and she is the only one who has the power to. Alongside new allies; Stormhund the privateer, and Tamar and Toyla the twin Grishas, she returns to the Little Palace to become the new leader of the Second Army and harness her powers more than ever. But will the power get to Alina’s head? Will she be strong enough for the Darkling? Will her and Mal’s relationship survive this looming war? (Not that I care but, ya know)
◦ Alina finally stopped being a whiny, useless slug and became powerful and badass like I’ve been wanting
◦ Nikolai/Stormhond is utterly hilarious and I am so happy he came to exist in this book
◦ The Darkling is still so fascinating to me. Every scene with him just leaves me with so many questions and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up — he’s just so intriguing
◦ Mal is still here and is even more annoying, which I didn’t think possible
◦ Remember Genya? Yeah, I don’t because she’s in this book for two scenes (one in which she doesn’t even speak)
◦ The Darkling‘s appearance is at an all time minimum. Why, Leigh Bardugo, why? And why can’t we have his POV?
◦ The ending. Dare I say it was…boring? Not the ending sequence, which was pretty badass and action-packed, but just how the book ends in general
God dammit. I’m in love with this series but I also want to scream and throw it at a wall.
Because I love everything about this series, except where the plot is going.
Every time I’m loving a book in this series I get to the end and I’m just like, oh.
Am I the only one that wanted this series to take on a more sinister plot? There are so many times that it’s hinted it will go that way but then it never does. Leigh Bardugo has created such an interesting, complex villain but then someone like Mal takes up 50% of the book. Mal, who is an average, ordinary, underwhelming character that I’ve seen in 100 other books. I don’t get why there’s such an emphasis on him, especially when his character is not evolving, developing, or growing at all
In Shadow and Bone I didn’t like the ending because I don’t care about Mal and his addition towards the end of the book was underwhelming. And now in Siege and Storm I didn’t like the ending either! Literally nothing happened. And I’m not talking about the first 300ish pages – those were great. I’m talking about the ending. The ending could have been so much more had it just gone a different way. But now, the entire lead up to the ending was…pretty much for nothing?
Based on the ending of these last two books, I almost 90% sure how Ruin and Rising is going to end, which sucks. I want some surprises, some twists. I’m really hoping that Leigh Bardugo will surprise me with the next book, but we ~ will ~ have ~ to ~ see ~
I’m really getting sick and tired of Mal being shoved down my throat.
I DO NOT LIKE HIM.
He gets angry over everything, is overly clingy, doesn’t listen to Alina, suddenly has an existential crisis midway through the book, was a tracker in the army for Ravka but doesn’t give a shit about saving Ravka, and wants the old Alina back. Sorry, you want the old, weak, powerless Alina who did nothing but swoon over you every 10 minutes? Wow, what a surprise you want that one back!
Literally 50% of this book is dedicated to Mal and Alina’s love life and them fighting. Why? Why? This mundane, unimportant relationship…you guys realize we’re in the middle of a war, right?
It’s so hard because I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing and this world, and complex characters like the Darkling, and the potential the plot has
I loved everything else about this book. It started off strong and action-packed with a visit from the Darkling and his new and improved power. And then we meet some new characters: Nikolai, Tamar, and Tolya. Nikolai is…a fantastic character. He is the complete opposite of the Darkling, yet somehow I love them both so much.
Nikolai is so funny, charming, charismatic, intelligent, understanding…Sorry, Mal who?
And despite a lot of people saying the middle of this book was slow and boring, I really liked it! I didn’t find it slow at all. There was a lot of planning and waiting, but I didn’t find those parts drawn out and still enjoyed them. I loved getting to know Nikolai and I was so happy that Alina grew more powerful and authoritative. Her banter with Nikolai is honestly my favorite. Again…Mal who?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this book, per say. It’s mostly just my preferences for how I want the plot to go that made me dock 1.5 stars. But I will say that in terms of character development, Mal is lacking.
I’m still die hard for Leigh Bardugo and I will read anything that she writes, so excuse me while I descend into the final installment of this series, Ruin and Rising