Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2016!

Fall is my absolute favorite season. Nothing’s better than curling up with a snuggly sweater, a steaming hot cup of tea and a great book while the world outside consists of gray skies and crunching leaves. Fall is also usually when a big chunk of my most anticipated books of the year come out. The fall season and new books go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: 28260587I’m not even sure I need to explain this one, and yes, I know it’s already out but I couldn’t leave it off the list. Sexy fae warriors (yes, that is plural, as in more than one), Aelin kicking massive ass with her flame powers, tons more smoochy scenes, Manon slicing people’s guts out, bad guys being bad, and guaranteed heartbreak. What’s not to love?

18584855Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Another book by Marrisa Meyer? How could I possibly resist? Not to mention the fact that it’s a freaking origin story for the Queen of Hearts. I’ve been hearing so many raving reviews for this book already, so I know Marissa Meyer is working her magic yet again. Plus, I really need to know how an innocent baker becomes the evil, head-chopping Queen. I can’t even being to imagine how that comes about.

28448239Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge: After reading Crimson Bound, I can help but be excited for another retelling, this time featuring Romeo and Juliet. I have a love/hate relationship with Romeo and Juliet but I have complete faith in Rosamund Hodge to make it interesting and creepy enough to hold my attention and hopefully capture my heart.

23207027Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: I adore everything about this book. That cover makes my heart pitter-patter and the idea behind it, of dark magic and trickery, betrayal by those closest to you, and a rivalry between sisters that can only end in death… My stomach is fluttering just thinking about it. This book has so much potential to be one of my favorites of the year.

22299763Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: Guys… this book. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings I get in my stomach when I think about it. Six of Crows was one of my absolute favorites last year and the wait has nearly killed me. But in a few short weeks, this book will finally be in my hands. There is not a single shred of doubt that I’m going to laugh and cry and probably scream at the heavens for ever cursing me with such a book.

22567184Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier: This author is one of the few that genuinely makes me cry from a place deep down in my heart. One of the most underrated actors that I love, she’s broken my heart many times with her incredible stories of love, faith, redemption, healing, and a little magic. This series is no exception. Blackthorn and Grim are back and no doubt, once again, getting in way over their heads with someone’s problems. Which I’m actually okay with because with every near death experience, the more their relationship grows and the more feels I get. Win win.

29236299Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: I’m not even sure how to describe Illuminae to someone who hasn’t read it, but if you haven’t, I’m pretty sure you should just go read it and find out for yourself. One of the most surprising and unique books I’ve read in a long time, and now the sequel is almost out. Be still my heart. But seriously, this book is going to wreck me if it’s even half as good as the first one.

What new fall releases are you guys most excited for?

16 Most Anticipated Books of 2016

There are so many amazing books coming out this next year, so making this list was nearly impossible. I finally managed to get the list down to sixteen but it was no easy task. Just as a warning, these are in no particular order so their placement on the list has nothing to do with my level of excitement for it.

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic, #2) The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1) Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4) The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2) Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5, 0.6, 1.5, 3.1, 3.6)

1. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews: This is one of my favorite series, like ever. And after eight books, I find myself more in love with it than ever. Kate will continue to be one of my favorite badass heroines, Curran my favorite grumpy kitty, and their romance one of the best written in book history.

2. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater: I can’t believe how far this book has been pushed back and no wait has ever felt so painful. As the final book in this series, there are still so many questions that need answering, so many worries that need to be laid to rest. All I have to say is that if Gansey or Ronan die, I will riot.

3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer: As a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, I feel that the YA genre is severely lacking in that category.  So when I heard that Marissa Meyer, the same Marissa Meyer who absolutely slayed with The Lunar Chronicles, was writing a story about the Queen of Hearts, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. The Queen of Hearts, guys *grabby hands*

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: To be honest, I’m a little ashamed of my reasoning behind this one. As we all know, I’m a huge Sarah J. Maas fangirl and she is best friends with Susan Dennard. Which means we can probably all assume she helped out with this book. That right there is a good enough reason for me to read it. Not to mention that although I wasn’t a huge fan of Susan Dennard’s other series, this one seem much more like something I’d like. Tons of girl power and sisterly love, super powers and potentially tons of ass kicking. Yep, definitely sounds like something I’d like.

5. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas: I loved the first book in this series and I know that this one is going to be just as great, if not better. We get more of Feyre, who I genuinely found to be a huge breath of fresh air as far as heroines go. But more importantly, we get more of Tamlin and Rhysand. I might finally pick which team I’m on. More likely though, this book will just make me fall in love with both of them even more, thus adding to my internal conflict over which one should have my babies.

6. This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab: For some reason, despite only reading a few books by this author, I have complete and utter faith in her to rock my socks off with this book. The premise is just too cool and she is too great of a writer not to. I love the idea of monsters inside and out and this dark city that’s overrun with them and OOOHHH, it just gives me shivers to think about.

7. The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine: I really have an addiction to fairy tale retelling and it shows no signs of letting up. This one is another Snow White retelling that promises to have tons of magic, romance, betrayal, a delightfully evil queen, and  hopefully dragons. I saw the word dragon in the summary and now if we don’t get any, this book is getting a big fat zero stars. I’m joking. Probably. She should definitely add in some dragons just in case.

8. Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard: The first book, Red Queen, really left me feeling betrayed and upset. Not to spoil anything but certain people’s true colors were revealed and let’s just say that it was mostly black. Black like death and betrayal and inner evil and unbelievable villainy. After what happened, I need to know how the next book is going to go. I just hope there’s a nice helping of vengeance in it.

9. The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows: It’s been a while since I read The Orphan Queen, but I do remember that I found it super fun and certain aspects of it really intriguing. Sure, the out-of-place names annoyed me to no end, but I’m willing to put that aside for a decent story. This series is only a duo-logy so the character’s fates are going to be determined in this one, something I’m definitely not prepared for.

10. Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop: Am I the only one that is going to quite possibly go on a murderous rampage if two certain characters *cough* Simon and Meg *cough* don’t hook up in this book? Because I’ve been waiting since like, they first met way back in book one and I know that sneaky evil Anne Bishop is toying with our emotions right now by playing this waiting game with us. Well I’ve had enough. The time for smooching is now! Oh and uh, I guess I’m excited for the plot and stuff too.

11. Untitled (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas: I’m sure you’re all so surprised to see this one on here *snorts sarcastically* I need this book in my life, like yesterday. Although the last one didn’t really end on a cliffhanger, instead ending on, dare I say it, a happy note, there is still evil looming in the distance. There are so many paths the next book could take and I hate that I can’t even begin to guess what’s going to happen.

12. A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic was so well… magical. It made me laugh and cry and swoon and hold my breath in fear and surprise and I adored every minute of it. The idea of parallel Londons was a genius one and thanks to V.E. Schwab being an amazing writer, it wasn’t the only genius thing about it. Now, the sequel promises even more magic, even more adventure and even more of Kell and Delilah which means perfection.

13. The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renne Ahdieh: I like the first book more than I expected, despite it’s lack of revenge. And now with the cliffhanger at the end and the second book hopefully bringing more magic, something else the first one was lacking in, I find myself itching to have it in my hands. The gorgeous covers of course have nothing to do with it.

14. A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir: The first book surprised me with how dark and brutal it could be, with a familiar sort of story, but with unexpected twists thrown in. I love the world and I love the characters, so I know that as long as no one I love dies (please don’t let anyone die) and our heroes don’t find themselves suddenly transported to a different world, this book should be golden.

15. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo: Six of Crows was one of my absolute favorite books that I read last year, much to my surprise. I need more of everything in this book. More of Kaz and his horrible depressing and sad history and dark personality, more of Inej and her moral compass, more of Nina and Mattias and their steamy romance. Uhm, and was I the only one totally shipping Jesper and Wylan? So I’ll take more of their flirting too. I need more heists and clever unpredictable plans and snarky comments and sneering insults. Okay I’m about to seriously cry because I want this book now.

16. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer: When The Lunar Chronicles ended, it felt like my heart went with it. This series brought me out of my reading slump and pushing me into doing what I do now; running a book blog and booktube channel. So when I found out that were were getting a full book of stories about our favorite characters and one wedding at the end, I nearly died.

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Making a list of only sixteen books was so hard because we all know there are so many great books coming out this year. And I plan on reading every single one of them. What books are you guys most excited to get your hands on this year?

Top Books of 2015

Now that another year has come to an end, it time to look back at all of the books I’ve read and pick my favorites. This is usually something I both eagerly anticipate and dread but to my complete surprise, I found it much easier this year. While I felt like this was a good reading year, full of good books, there ultimately weren’t as many great ones as I had expected. So this year, instead of doing my top fifteen of 2015, I’ll just be doing my top ten in absolutely no particular order.

22055262 A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: This was the first book by V.E. Schwab that I’d ever read and she did not disappoint. This book was everything I had hope for, a magical story with evil, betrayal, a many sided coat, parallel Londons and an aspiring pirate. There’s really no way that you could go wrong with that.  Review here.

18006496 Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: I adore this series and while there was a lot of controversy surrounding this latest book and certain decisions made, I personally found it to be another strong addition. Sure, certain decisions made me want to cry and throw the book into the fire, but that’s a part of reading a series like this; it makes you feel the feels. What concerned me more was how to handle falling in love with Rowan Whitethorn, despite the fact that we have the same name. Awkward. Review here.

16148398 Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: I’ve been trying to branch out and read more graphic novels and I couldn’t have made a better choice than Saga. It is absolute perfection. Everything I could have hoped for. The art, the characters, the story, all of it continuously exceeds my expectations and blows my minds. If you like sci-fi and aren’t bothered by more adult themes, do yourself a favor and pick this up.

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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes: I actually picked this series up for the first time this year and was fortunate enough to get my hands on all three books that were out at the time and I binge read this series like I was dying. I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up the first book but it wasn’t the crazy ride that this series gave me. Each book just got better and better and the transformations that characters go through (Magnus, you conflicted beast) are some of the best and most complex that I’ve read in a very long time. But more than that, these were just so refreshing to read because it’s impossible to predict what happens next.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik: 22544764I actually got this book for Christmas and read it right at the end of this year. It made me unbearably happy to end the year on such a high note. This is one of those instances where I want to kick myself for putting a book off for so long because it genuinely saddens me that I went so long without having it in my life. It’s the grumpy mysterious withdrawn magician boys, they never fail to make me all gooey. Like a big mushy marshmallow of yearning and salty tears. Sigh.

16096824 A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: Am I showing a bit of favoritism by putting Sarah J. Maas on here twice? Maybe. Okay, definitely. But both of her books that came out this year were too amazing to leave off my list so I don’t even feel guilty. It was so refreshing to get a book by her that wasn’t part of her YA series and while it didn’t love it as much, it came pretty damn close. My greatest shame though is that I haven’t picked if I’m Team Rhysand or Tamlin yet… Can I make a Team Rhylin? Review here.

18798983 The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: This book promised me a tale of revenge that simply sounded too deliciously dark to turn down. Although it didn’t have as much revenge as I would have liked, I was surprised at how much I did enjoy it. It offered a bit more diversity that I usually get in my book choices, something that I’m horribly ashamed of. But it also presented us with a story we were familiar with but in a new way, with a hint of magic, conflicted characters and the power of love. I know, I know, that last part makes it sound like a big ball of cheese but it’s true. Review here.

 21457243 Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop: This is probably my favorite urban fantasy series right now and each book just delivers so much mystery and emotion and dark, gritty, evilness; I love it *evil laugh* Okay but really, the dark tones of this book are so fitting for the world and it feels so right. If humans did discover that vampires and werewolves and all the things that go bump in the night did exist, we would probably live in fear. And with each book, it becomes more and more evident that humans should fear them. But on a lighter note, CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME SMOOCHING?! This couple that I ship so goddamn hard just keep dancing around each other and I’m about to flip if they don’t get together soon. Why does the author feel the need to torture us?

23437156 Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Since I hadn’t loved Leigh Bardugo’s other YA trilogy, I pre-ordered this book in a moment of brave hope. Although I knew that a pretty cover meant nothing about the quality of material inside, I comforted myself by knowing that at least if it stank, it would look quite nice on my shelf. So imagine my surprise when this turned out to be one of the best books I’d read all year. Let’s just say that there might have been some happy tears. And then real tear because this book you guys, this book. It hit me in the feels so hard that I got the wind knocked out of me.

13206900 Winter by Marissa Meyer: I actually went to the Lunar Ball launch party for this book but ended up putting this book off for a little while because I was so nervous and sad to read the conclusion of such a great series. Once I finally found the courage to read it though, I of course loved it. Winter and Jacin were both great additions to the story even though my OTP will forever remain Cress and Thorne (my poor babies). And I found that, despite a few small disappointments, which are always inevitable with final books in a series, I was immensely satisfied with how this book ended.

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I can’t believe 2015 is already over and how small of a dent it feels like I put in to my TBR pile. But I read some superb books during the year and I’m looking forward to so many new releases this one. What were some of your favorite books your read in 2015?

 

Review: Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1)22294935

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Publication Date: September 29th, 2015

Summary: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

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.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Guys, this is seriously one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. Yes, I can say that with absolute certainty, it was really that good. Everything about it just drew me in and kept me hooked until the very end, and even after finishing it, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had just read.

The main thing that really made this book for me was the amazing cast of characters. We have Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, and Wylan, who is kind of a not-so-main character because we don’t get any chapters in his perspective. I have to start with Kaz because he was my absolute favorite and amazing beyond words. He has a dark and mysterious past, doesn’t hesitate when he needs to get his hands dirty, is ridiculously smart and constantly ten steps ahead of everyone else, not to mention he has a bad ass cane with a crow’s head on it. I have a huge weakness for tormented, ruthless young men who are too smart for their own good and Kaz fits right into that category and swept me off of my feet. Then we have Inej, aka The Wraith, a girl who was kidnapped and forced into a pleasure house, only to be bought by Kaz and became his eyes and ears on the streets. She was a conflicted character but I love how real she felt and how strong she was, even after everything she had been through. Nina was spunky and so much fun, I love how she used everything she had as a weapon, from her looks, to her sharp tough, to her Grisha powers. Matthias was rough and tough and gruff and grumbly and I absolutely adored him, even though he could never figure out if he wanted to help everyone or kill them. Then we have Jesper and Wylan who I’m just going to group together because all of the scenes with the two of them made me laugh and ship them at the same time. Though it’s a huge cast of  characters, they are all so unique and intriguing, it was hard to say which one I wanted to read about the most.

The thing is, even if the characters weren’t the best ever, which they were, the plot still would have kept me hooked. I loved being in this grimy part of the Grisha universe and I found this story to be a lot more engaging and interesting that Leigh Bardugo’s first trilogy. In Six of Crows, we have a sort of super drug going around that makes Grisha more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Kaz is hired to get a group together and break into one of the most impenetrable places in the world to break out the scientist who knows how to make said super drug of death and destruction. I found the plot to be intense beyond words at time, surprisingly dark and violent and made me feel some things I didn’t even know I could. I’m pretty sure that at one point I was half crying, have screaming, half cheering, then probably having a heart attack at the same time. This book was physically and mentally exhausting.

One complaint I’ve heard a few times is that all of the different characters and flashbacks make the story feel slow, or that it drags on. I personally disagree as much as possible. I found that all of the different perspectives and backstory contributed massively to character development and constantly kept me interested to see who was next and what we would get to learn about them. I was as excited and invested in the flashbacks of each character as I was in the current happenings, because both were equally gripping. It was definitely a slow burn at some points but then the exciting parts were so intense and suspenseful and it would just tease you by jumping to a different perspective in the middle of something, and it was evil and infuriating but genius. And I absolutely adore, beyond words, books like this that have so many twists and a character that is constantly planning ahead and is ridiculously smart so just when you think things are going bad, he reveals the trick up his sleeve and your head just explodes because HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE?!?!

This book was so smart and complex and suspenseful, I think I set it down once the whole time just to go grab a drink of water because my throat was raw from screaming. And that ending was the most evil thing I’ve encountered in a book in a long time, I don’t know if I can handle it. Guys, you should do yourself a favor and read this book. Then do me a favor by coming back here and talking with me about it so I can vent and gush and try not to die waiting for the next book.

RATING: 

Waiting on Wednesday: Six of Crows

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

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Title: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1)    22294935

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Release Date: September 29th, 2015

Summary: Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven in this brand-book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

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.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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For any of you that have read The Grisha series, you know that Leigh Bardugo can seriously deliver an interesting world full of complex characters and a plot to keep you on your toes. So if that wasn’t enough, this book also like something I would absolutely adore; a heist being pulled off by a group of misfits. How could that possibly get any better? Oh wait, how about we put it in the same world as The Grisha series and include a bunch of other awesome stuff, like revenge, spies, horrible boys (or maybe just one in particular), and no doubt tons of witty banter between this cast of characters. If you still aren’t sold, just scroll up a little more and take a good long look at that cover again. That’s what I thought.

Review: Ruin and Rising

Title: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) 14061957

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: June 17th, 2014

Summary: 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.

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This review is going to be full of spoilers so if you haven’t read Ruin and Rising yet, you have been warned.

It’s been a while since I read the previous two books and I didn’t have time to reread them before I got this one. So going into this, I was trying to remember who all the secondary characters were and what all happened, and it slowed me down a little bit.

The main thing I have to say is that Leigh Bardugo does not mess around. I mean, she just kept kicking us while we were down and I loved it. There was lots of death and horrible awful things happening to lots of people and my heart wanted to die. At one point in the book, I’m pretty sure I let out an inhuman wail of misery and sadness. It scared my cat half to death.

To start with, Alina is down in the White Chapel, hiding underground with all these crazy religious wackos and unable to summon anything. She has The Apparat (who I imagine looking like an older, crustier version of Rasputin from Anastasia) forcing her to stay underground and help build an army of religious fanatics who all believe she is a saint. But her, Mal, and the rest of their ground manage to escape and are on a quest to find Nikolai and the Firebird to take down the Darkling. And we have our book.

The character are great, like always. I feel bad because I remember that I disliked Mal a lot in the last book and was pissed knowing that she would end up with him. C’mon you guys, we all know it. But in this book, he was actually tolerable and helped Alina a lot and kept their band of misfits together. I felt like he really stepped it up when it mattered most. However, I still did not want him and Alina to end up together. I was team Darkling all the way, and then team Nikolai last book. It’s so hard to love more that one guy, I feel like such a traitor bouncing back and forth between the two of them.

Alina really grows in this book. I love her as a character because she isn’t ashamed to admit that she wants power and likes wielding it and has, and will continue to do, some bad things. She is honest and strong, even when she is weak, and I like that. She isn’t like most other heroines who are so pure and good that the thought of hurting someone is unimaginable and they refuse to hurt because it’s bad. Alina feels sadness and regret over hurting people but realizes the necessity of it in war and gets a bit of thrill out of using her power.

My poor baby Nikolai had such a rough time in this book. I love him, I have a thing for sassy, witty boys and he is definitely up there. He is trying his best to fight back against the Darkling but ultimately he needs Alina and when she comes to him, they are ready to fight together. Which would have been awesome if the Darkling hadn’t swooped out of the sky, killed a bunch of people, and turned Nikolai into a monster. Yep, you heard me. He turned my baby into a goddamn monster, with fangs and claws and a taste for human flesh. I honestly got tears in my eyes when it happened. He was such a good person, and the Darkling did the one thing that would hurt him more than anything else. I wanted Nikolai and Alina to get married and pop out some cutie babies and live happily ever after. Although Nikolai does get turned back, him and Alina still don’t hook up, which was almost enough to make me rip the book in half.

Mal being the last amplifier was a twist that I didn’t see coming. I mean, I obviously knew something was special about him with his sixth sense when it comes to tracking, but I never would have guessed what he was. Even after Baghra told her story, I didn’t piece it together. But I like that it wasn’t predictible. My only problem is that I feel like I was a little cheated in the end. I always kind of hate books where they kill off the love interest, but then they magically come back to life. Not that Alina didn’t give up enough already, but it’s just anticlimactic for me because as the person is dying, at this point I just always expect they will be revived. Not to sound like an evil person, but war has it’s casualties and it stinks, but sometimes the person should just stay dead and we can all cry over it.

Alina losing her power in the end was unexpected as well. I like that she gets to start over with Mal and a new life, but I find it sad that she doesn’t have her powers anymore or her connection to the Darkling. I would have liked for her to still have that piece of darkness in her, even while serving the kingdom as a saint and queen. But being free of it all was probably a blessing in disguise to her.

One of the only complaints I have is that I wish we had gotten more of the Darkling in this book. Which I know, I’m only saying because I love him as a character, but I wanted more of him before he died. I love the dark passion between him and Alina and I love how lonely and tormented he is. He is such a complex character that I really have to give Leigh Bardugo kudos since it’s not often an author makes me truly love and sympathize with the bad guy.

The story itself moved at a great pace. I blew through it in like four hours so it went quickly, but I was never bored. I really loved the religious aspects of this book and how all the people thought she was a saint, I found it really interesting and fairly original. Anything to do with Morozova was super intriguing. I almost wish they would publish his journals or a story about him so we could read more about his experiments and ideas. And I have to say, these books have been getting a lot of criticism about all the inaccurate Russian stuff, but coming from someone who knows basically nothing about it, I never had a problem with it. I like the Russian undertones, accurate or not, and I find it almsot unfair for everyone to nitpick at it. I know as an author, it’s their job to do their research, but this is still a fantasy book and certain liberties can be taken. I was never bothered by it, I’m more annoyed seeing everyone posting stuff about correct Russian surnames and the alcohol content of kvas.

I really enjoyed this book over all. The pacing, characters, story line, and twist were all great, and I thought it was a very successful conclusion. I just wish maybe the ending hadn’t been so happily ever after, with a book that had so many dark undertones, I was hoping for an unexpected, maybe more realistic and sad ending. I would say this was a pretty successful series and I’m actually sad to see the characters go. Especially my baby Nikolai.

RATING: