Just like with Shadow And Bone (which was my Favorite Read of 2012), I was once again completely engrossed in this fantastical world Leigh Bardugo has created! She weaves a spell-binding tale of adventure, mystery, romance and love with a cast of characters that are both fresh and familiar. Alina isn't the easiest character to love but you have to give her mad props for her courage, strength and willingness to give up what, or who she wants the most in order to save her country.
We're introduced to several new characters, one of which is the Privateer...I'm sorry, what was I saying? Oh, right, the green eyed swashbuckling, swoonilicious, pirate-sque guy who had me ready to set sail and exclaim, "Oh Captain, my Captain!" (In case you forgot, I tend to get distracted by shiny book boys.) The fact that I found myself torn between three intoxicating male characters really shouldn't surprise me, I mean, Leigh Bardugo DID manage to make me fall for the would-be-but-I'm-not-positive-for-sure bad guy, known as The Darkling so, yeah.
This is my new allegiance btw...
The Darkling + Mal + Privateer = Team The Malarklinghond
Mal gets plenty of page time and appears to be a permanent fixture at Alina's side but he faces some challenges himself. I am a Mal fan, however, he frustrated me quite a bit and I wanted to punch him. While I realize we don't know his full story, he still has some "manning up" to do because if you love someone, you love them summoner skills and all.
The Darkling, whom I lurved in Shadow and Bone begins to show his true color and regardless of the many choices he makes that I disagree with, I am still clutching onto the thinly veiled hope that he can be redeemed. *white knuckle clutches*
What left me wanting: Can I haz book three now, please? *bats eyes*
Final verdict: Epic sequel!