Author: Leigh Bardugo.
Published: June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.
Sort: The Grisha, Part #3.
Part #1. Shadow and bone.
Part #2. Siege and storm.
The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army. Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives. Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
But at the same time, I got a lot of sassiness from one of my favorite characters, Sturmhond, background story from two fascinating characters, adorable romantic moments and a kick-ass Alina. The one thing that didn’t surprise me was my growing hate for Mal.
From here on, there are spoilers for the entire series. Don't continue if you haven't read all 3 books.
First of, Nikolai, my love! His sentences make me giggle out loud and I simply adore him. Bardugo should write a book about him, because I don't think I would ever get tired of his humor. The things that happened freaked me out and I'm sad how he didn't get the happy ending I had in mind.
The romance between Genya/David (his speech!) and Tamar/Natalie were awesome. I never thought about shipping those last two and I was surprised at how natural it felt. I only wish they got more story. Genya also shows what a strong character she is. How she stood up against the king, amazing.
Now on to my most hated character, Mal. The moment he left her alone in Siege and Storm showed me that his pretty words are nothing but bullshit. Saying you are always there for a person and that you care about them – and acting like it, are two separate things. He continues this despicable behaviour with pride in Ruin and rising. There were so many times where I wanted Alina to Cut him, the Darkling to rip him apart with his shadows or any other way to just get him out of the way. He is incredibly selfish, not only towards Alina, but also for Ravka. Multiple times he claims how he wishes Alina to lose her powers, because now she is so strong she doesn’t need him. Because yes, that is what Mal needs. A vulnerable, weak Alina he can protect to make him feel manly. I didn’t like the extra role he was given and how he has ties with The Darkling. It felt.. convenient and unnecessarily.
Alina kills Mal, chops of his hand to have his amplifyer power, gets into a fight with the Darkling aka Harry Potter clashes with Voldemort in the last book. She defeats him and after that, the Fold disappears and she loses the amplifyers. Mal stays dead of course, Alina keeps her powers but it’s normal like any other Grisha and she marries Sturmhond to help him dealing with the darkness that is left after the shadows. They rule Ravka honest and live happily ever after with their two children: a boy called Mal (because okay, he is part of her past) and a girl called Baghra.
Her moments with The Darkling were my favorite parts. So intense and I like him as a character. His death made an impact on me and while I get that he had to die, I still missed him in the end. He reminds me so much of Voldemort; I think he did all the things because he really believed in it.
There you have it. I’ve re-written this review three times now and I'm still not happy with it. It's more a rant than a glowing fangirl moment – which I was hoping for. Nonetheless, one of the best fantasy series and it will keep it’s place on my favorite shelf.