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.
This started out super slow. I was pretty bored the first few chapters. And then something magical happened and Bardugo totally redeemed herself. Well, mostly, anyway.
The end of a trilogy–a good triology–is always bittersweet. In some places the writing was just lovely; Bardugo is a natural storyteller. She manages to create layer upon layer of story to weave throughout her narrative. There was a lot going on. But at the same time the plot was extremely linear. There were a lot of epic-fantasy-trek parts, which don’t exactly get me going, but there were other parts to break it up so it didn’t get boring. I loved the ending. It was kind of perfect but not too perfect, you know? Everyone ended up where they should but not exactly how you thought they might.
Alina. Honestly, she just seemed so helpless. For most of the book. And her power? It started to seem really lame next to all the other Grisha. I mean, light? Why is light considered more powerful than being able to control fire or wind or stop peoples’ hearts? It really just began to feel like a little parlor trick. I was looking forward to her getting the third amplifier just to see what new amazing thing she’d be able to do that would warrant her being so valued. I loved how it turned out.
The Darkling felt like the most believable character in the entire series. For a villain, that’s kind of rare. Everything he did made sense in his twisted little mind and I cared what happened to him.
Mal was sad and broken for the better part of the book. I can’t decide if it made him more or less likable. But I liked how his story evolved.
I think I’m a little in love with Nikolai. His character was so perfectly entertaining. A little absurd, yes, but highly enjoyable. For the most part the other characters didn’t bother me so much, either. Little Misha was my favorite. I just wanted to pull him from the book and cuddle him.
To be completely honest, I’m not sure I understood the climax of the story. I know Bardugo explained it… sort of… but it just went right over my head. I don’t know if it was me or the writing. If I was really worried I’d go back and reread it. I’m not. So I won’t. Things ended nicely and I don’t think there were any major plot holes so I’m not going to go back in hopes of finding things all tidied up and perfect but possibly finding things making less sense. I’ll just hold on to this nice calm afterglow and leave it at that.
Sexual Content: Moderate (there is a love scene but it’s not overly graphic)