“Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.” -Goodreads
Yes, I’m finally doing these reviews after like three months have passed since I said that I’d do them.
Okay, let’s go into a brief recap: Alina is on the run with Mal, they’re all lovey-dovey now, but Alina is all like “I can’t use my powers while we’re on the run, I’m no longer pretty.” Then through stupidity the Darkling finds them and a bunch of shit flies. They’re captured on a boat. They find the sea whip. Alina’s rescued by a prince. Yep, now we got ourselves a good old fashioned love square. She goes back to the little palace. Mal says, “I’m not good enough for you, go marry Nikolai.” Alina’s basically “Rawr, I want more power and I might be going crazy, but let’s not tell anyone about it.” Then the Darkling says, “Fuck all of you.” and destroys everything, absolutely everything. Buncha people die, but no one important, Aline gets a new hair do, and then that creepy priest dude that no one trusts takes her into hiding and we still don’t trust him.
Okay, I think I got it all, now let’s get down to nitty gritty.
The pacing of this story was off, like just weird. With in a few chapters Alina has the second amplifier. Her time on the run is zero, I don’t even think a single chapter had passed before the Darkling pops up and kidnaps them. But then as soon as she arrives at the little palace absolutely nothing happens. The elder prince kisses her (let’s just make this a love pentacle), Alina has sun summoner issues, and there’s a mask party that she sneaks away to. That’s it the whole middle of the book is just filler crap that the author just shoved in there trying to flesh out a few chapters. With the beginning starting off so strong and hitting right into the action it was like getting whiplash going to this boring (mostly about who Alina should date) plot.
With everything being so slow you would think that the Bardugo would fill it up with some character development, but no Alina just goes around in circles chasing her own tail and getting no where. She’s having man issues and she’s have power issues, does any of this stuff get resolved? No. By the end of the book she’s still in love with Mal, everyone is telling her to marry Nikolai, and she still has feelings for the Darkling… kinda. Then she somehow manages to gain more power and goes more insane like I’m not going into spoilers here, but just fucking hell.
So where do we stand, read the first fifty pages, the last fifty, and throw everything else away. Everything else is pointless crap.
Now there were a few good points here. The Darkling was badass. Yep, that covers it. Definition of an antihero: a character who has the right reasons for wanting to do something, but the “wrong” execution. The Darkling could be described as an antihero, he wants equality for grisha, but to do so he wants to kill basically everyone. I happen to love antiheroes, it’s seriously like a fetish I have.
Now another good character (I didn’t really like him, but lots of others did) was Nikolai our bastard prince. He’s our anti-antihero, he is the one who is most opposed to the Darkling. Most would say it’s Mal, but Mal is a dipshit and no one likes him. Nikolai wants the same thing as the Darkling, but wants to do it the “right” way.
Overall, I’d say this book was a three out of five. This was like the second Hobbit movie, why was it made? No idea. Was it okay? Sure. We got some new characters, there’s a few twists here and there, and the ending was a definitive wtf just happened ending. Oh, yeah, I also liked that the prologue and epilogue were in third person, it’s different. I like different. Did I wish this book hadn’t been made, yes I do. This could have easily been cut down and been shoved into the third book, but lately there has been a fad with authors and trilogies. I think Bardugo did it like this just so she would have the titles and cover art be unique to each amplifier. Anyway, 3/5 read at your own free will.