"Superstition is a powerful thing."
"So is faith."
5 STARS, favorite shelved and best read of the year, thus far.If Smoke and Bone promised and delivered Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance. Siege and Storm brought Love. Dragon. Magic. Snarkling.
It's Darkling vs Snarkling y'all.
I'm just laughing at my review for the first book, at how very elementary my assumptions were about this series. Reducing the characters to mere PNR stereotypes was my first mistake, the second was having any expectations as to where this story is going. Though I have no regrets. Being shown by Leigh Bardugo how very narrow my point of view as a fantasy reader was an enjoyable lesson to be had indeed.
While S&B was delightful enough, I felt it had some issues in the pacing, and the myth-building got too complex for my logic towards the end. But this book... gad, this book was flawless. All the aspects I whisper-griped about in S&B improved by leaps and bounds enhanced by wit, humor and a restraint in the drama. Everything was crafted to make anyone who picks this up miss blocks of time from their lives. Prepare to miss lunch AND dinner.
I'm beginning to see Leigh Bardugo's preference towards the frenetic pace of relaying the story and I like it. Very. Much. The story starts with Mal and Alina on the run from the reaches of the Darkling and that's basically the rhythm you'll have to keep up with until the end. When you've managed to slow your heart rate down, fooling yourself to a sense of complacency, that's when S&S will pack the emotional wallop that will leave you drained and teetering on the edge.
You be all...
then a chapter over...
While the best part of this book is a spoiler I refuse to share (you have to experience him firsthand to bask properly in his blinding awesomeness) Alina is not too far behind. From being an insecure cartographer to her return to Ravka, she's every bit the heroine this book deserves: magnificent and terrible at the zenith of her power. She never was a cowering wimp but how she evolves and reacts to the things happening to her were remarkable and gut-wrenching all at once.
I'm still having trouble liking Mal. His insecurities and weaknesses at being an otkasat'sya are brought in the fore and makes it easier to root for the other guy... whichever other guy is available (though maybe not the Darkling because he really was an insufferable bastard here. Dreamy, but insufferable.). And yet I couldn't bring myself to ridicule his professions of love and loyalty to Alina in all its purity.
He tapped the sun over his heart. "I came here for you. You're my flag. You're my nation."
Dammit Mal! Why can't you just be a whiny , misogynistic man-bitch and leave it at that?! Why'd you have to have these wonderful lines that melt my stone-cold heart?
I love how the end left me with a cliffhanger but was generous enough not to make a mess of things. It's always a pain to wait for the next installment of a series but this one had everything tied nicely to round up a book that belongs smack in the middle of an astounding trilogy. You get the sense the voyage you joined has a clear destination, predetermined even before you boarded the SS Leigh Bardugo and you're partaking in a journey guided by capable hands.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked. She was gnawing on her lip so agressively, I thought she might draw blood.
“Of course not,” said Sturmhond. “Anything worth doing always starts as a bad idea.”