“I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina” He said. “You and I are going to change the world.”
The nation of Ravka is but a shadow of its former self, torn apart by the creation of the Shadow Fold, a section of complete darkness inhabited by monsters. To destroy it is impossible, but hope rises in the form of a young girl, Alina, whose once dormant power comes to light under a vicious attack. In the blink of an eye her life is completely changed as she is whisked away to the royal court where she is to study and learn to master her newly discovered power, under the guidance of the enigmatic Darkling. But as Alina soon learns, there are many more questions that need to be answered and an underlying darkness that threatens.
After reading the Six of Crows duology, I was eager to read more books set in that universe so I didn’t hesitate diving into the Grisha Trilogy. I got into the flow of the story right away finding it to be an enjoyable and easy read. There is a quality to Leigh Bardugo’s writing that completely works for me and it was really pleasant to be swept into this fantastical world and to keep turning those pages. Where it all fell apart for me was the main character of Alina, who I found to be uninspiring and far too whiny. With each page it became more and more of an issue, as the hope that she would grow and evolve completely diminished. For the most part she is rather bland and I completely forgot her name while reading the first novel in the series. The most frustrating is her cluelessness and lack of common sense. I wish there had been more to her, but the effort to have a fish out of water story once she is in new and extraordinary circumstances leaves her coming across as an overly weak and naive person. Too much of her revolves around her feelings for one boy or the other. There is a great moment in Shadow and Bone where she has a realization of her own power and a moment of letting go of the past, but sadly just ends up slipping back into her patterns. Because the story is told from Alina’s point of view, it does affect the whole reading experience. Continue reading “The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo”
“Call it what it is: monster racing.
Forget that, and you die.”
In Becar, who you are in this life determines your fate in the next. The purest souls, known as the augurs, can read auras and see your path; who you are and who you will become. For the darkest of souls there is only one outcome: to be reborn as a kehok, a monster, and that is all you will ever be, with no hope of redemption. The only way to ever be reborn as anything other than a kehok is to win the Races. Tamra was a top rider before being sidelined by an injury and becoming a professional trainer. After a miscalculation led to tragedy on the track and damaged her reputation, she is in desperate need of funds to prevent her daughter from being taken away. In a search for a new kehok and rider, she comes across Raia, who is running away from domineering parents and a cruel fiancé. The prize money from winning the Races would mean freedom for Raia and a secure future for Tamra and her daughter. With plenty of obstacles in their path, they embark on achieving the impossible and changing their future, with a new kehok that can lead them to victory. Continue reading “Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst”
“Kaz leaned back. ‘What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?’
‘Knife to the throat?’ asked Inej.
‘Gun to the back?’ said Jesper.
‘Poison in his cup?’ suggested Nina.
‘You’re all horrible,’ said Matthias.”
Six of Crows was one of those books that sat on my bookshelf for a while. Purchased amidst the praise and rave reviews, and even though I was eager to experience the story for myself, the reading mood was never quite right. Recently, however, when I saw that a friend was going to read it, I finally grabbed it off my bookshelf and dove in. I do love a good heist story, so the premise of this one completely had my attention: Kaz, a leader of one of gangs of the city of Ketterdam is offered an opportunity that would bring him immense wealth, but the deadly and near impossible heist requires a skilled crew of individuals. Being a skilled and resourceful criminal himself, he knows just the people he will need to achieve the impossible. What we get is a team of compelling characters that makes this such a page-turning read:
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Continue reading “The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo”
The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it?
The Seven Prophets that served to guide humanity disappeared one hundred years ago, leaving behind an uncertain world and one final prophecy. The prophecy, kept secret by a small group devoted to the Prophets, foretells the rise of an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet. With the world in chaos, five individuals with an interconnected destiny are on a path to collide.
The question is, which one can save the world and which one is set to destroy it?
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
“Those who cannot own their choices will always be mastered by fate.”
There Will Come A Darkness is an intriguing multiple perspective Young Adult fantasy that follows five character perspectives, and does so brilliantly. I felt connected to each character’s story and was eager to see how they interconnected. The relationships and connections shifted throughout and kept me guessing where the overall story was going to go. There are parts in the middle section of the novel that lagged slightly but the action really picked up in the third and final section. The author does a wonderful job of creating a foreboding atmosphere. There is this constant feeling of unease, uncertainty and danger that looms, which sets the perfect stage for the five main characters. This is the first book in what is set to be a trilogy, with the second book, As The Shadow Rises scheduled for release September 1st, 2020.
A very impressive debut novel, perfect for readers who enjoy character driven stories.
“It was always wise to be polite to books, whether or not they could hear you.”
Let it be known that I was very polite to this novel, even though I did not end up enjoying it very much.
Elisabeth has been raised in one of the Great Libraries, which houses numerous volumes and tools of sorcery, including grimoires that are are kept in locks and chains. Growing up as a foundling her dream in life was to become the warden of the Great Library, who is tasked to protect the kingdom from this sinister power. When a dangerous grimoire is released, Elisabeth’s actions leave her in a vulnerable position, implicating her in a terrible crime. With no one else to turn to she forms an unlikely partnership with a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorne and his servant, Silas (a demon, of course). As unexplainable attacks continue and a sinister plot emerges, Elisabeth begins to see the world in a new light and discovers her own role within it all.”
“Ink and parchment flowed through her veins. The magic of the Great Libraries lived in her very bones. They were a part of her, and she a part of them.”
I loved the beginning of this novel, and for the first one-hundred and fifty to two-hundred pages, I was firmly on board. You had me at libraries and magic. The way we are introduced to the Great Library is well-done and the world is an interesting one. Once the story moves away from the library setting, however, at a certain point it starts to falter in its momentum and somehow never recovers. What follows is far too many instances of plot convenience that kept taking me out of the story (mostly to roll my eyes). Such as coming into possession of something, out of the blue, that oh so conveniently allows the main character to solve a dilemma. On to the next thing! It was at this point that the book lost its magic for me and became a tedious crawl to the finish. Highly disappointing considering how much I enjoyed reading it at the beginning. The most interesting part of the novel ended up being Silas, the demonic servant. I would love a book that focused on his back story because my interest peaked anytime he was involved.
I do appreciate that this is a standalone novel, which seem so rare in fantasy these days. I liked the characters, the world, and the whole concept was immensely intriguing. There is a lot to like. Unfortunately, the plot failed to click with me, but I would read any future book set in this world. And hopefully I would have better luck next time around.