Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4/5 stars Series: Yes - book 2
*SPOILER ALERT: contains spoilers for SHADOW AND BONE*
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.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here. Find on Amazon UK, the Book Depository, and Bookshop.org UK (affiliate links.)
The second instalment is another wild ride of highs and lows, with a very tense climax. I loved how it took place in new locations – like the sea – as well as returning to the Little Palace. The plot rattles along, leaping from piece to piece and showcasing the world at its finest.
Thanks to Nikolai, the technology, and integration with Grisha power, is so much fun. Flying ships. Grenades and advanced guns. It brought something fresh to the magic system, made the ‘regular’ humans feel less inadequate compared to the Grisha and gave a solid sense of hope.
Nikolai arrives – our favourite quick talking, morally-dubious, smart privateer drops in with a bang. No matter what scene he’s in, he’s a delight to read. There’s a serious side to him that slowly emerges, but most interactions made me smile, laugh and, sometimes, rattle him until he’d be serious. Bardugo has created a character who you can’t wait until his next scene.
Of course, the Darkling isn’t dead, and the new power he has is menacing. His shadow monsters really helped raised his threat-level after Alina nearly destroyed him before. His illusion/projection-of-himself felt like it was simply there to wreck Alina’s relationship with Mal and to remind the reader who the villain was as he’s not physically present for a lot of the book. I wish it had been pushed further and been a real psychological threat to Alina.
This book has angst – Mal and Alina’s relationship goes on a rollercoaster downhill. If you love angst, it’s brilliant, but I don’t because they could have solved all their issues if they’d sat down and talked. They don’t. Instead, they make excuses to stay away from each other, lie and refuse to understand each other when they talk. This sort of relationship trouble is probably my least favourite thing/trope in YA. It made me roll my eyes and want to knock their heads together.
Ready to dive into RUIN AND RISING.
Read my reviews of other books by Leigh Bardugo:
For Young Adult:
The GrishaVerse (this series):
- SHADOW AND BONE (Shadow and Bone #1, GrishaVerse #1)
- RUIN AND RISING (Shadow and Bone #3, GrishaVerse #3)
- SIX OF CROWS ( Six of Crows #1, GrishaVerse #4)
- CROOKED KINGDOM (Six of Crows #2, GrishaVerse #5)
- KING OF SCARS (King of Scars #1, GrishaVerse #6)
- RULE OF WOLVES (King of Scars #2, GrishaVerse #7)
- NINTH HOUSE (#1)