Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Kerri Maniscalco)

28962906. sy475

Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 10 on My Book List 2020

”Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”

Okay, let’s start this review with a little bit of background knowledge I gathered before I read the actual book and take it from there. 😉 As always I got aware of “Stalking Jack the Ripper” because so many of my friends on here read it and thus it was all over my feed. It doesn’t take much to figure that I wasn’t only intrigued by the promise but also by the idea behind the book. I mean who isn’t curious about Jack the Ripper? It’s THE unsolved mystery everyone knows about and people’s theories about his true identity are still running wild.

So of course I wanted to jump that hype train and see where this was heading. Truth be told, the reviews about this book are rather mixed and by discovering the controversial opinions of other bloggers I couldn’t help but find out what this means for me. Did I enjoy the book? Yes, I did. Was it what I expected? Well, yeah pretty much! Did I find out who the culprit was? Yep, I think it wasn’t that hard to deduce, but I still enjoyed reading about Audrey Rose’s and Thomas’s musings.

I guess what it ultimately boils down to is the expectations you have when you start reading this book. If you want to be entertained and like slow paced stories that animate you to think, if you enjoy fictional books that are built on real evidence, if you dig two characters that are like cat and mouse “Stalking Jack the Ripper” will most certainly be the right book for you.

If you dislike male leads that are self-assured and always voice their “dirty thoughts”, if you don’t like the idea of modern day feminism in a historical fiction book, if you’re no huge fan of knowing the OTP right from the start and if you’ve read or seen too many whodunnits and are an observant person you might not enjoy this though.

Okay, admittedly I knew who the killer was pretty early on in the book, but since I mostly fall into the first category I found myself enjoying the book. ;-P Also Thomas Cresswell! Honestly, I can’t resist a sexy Sherlock Holmes ever since I saw the movies with Robert Downey Jr. and discovered the series with Benedict Cumberbatch. *drools* And before I continue to rave about dear Mr. Cresswell (heaven knows he’s already way too cocksure of himself) I’ll head right into my characters section! ;-P

2

Welcome to Whitechapel, where robbers, pickpockets and one particular murderer roam the streets at night! If you don’t want to end up against a wall either robbed or spoiled out of your mind you better don’t continue this venture into the unknown. This is a fair warning, you better heed it! ;-P

Audrey Rose:

”My hands fisted at my sides. I refused, absolutely refused to let this cruel treatment of a woman stand. I’d do everything in my power to solve this case for Miss Nichols. And for any other voiceless girl or woman society ignored.”

I’m going to be honest here: Audrey Rose wasn’t as brilliant as I expected her to be but she was likeable enough. *lol* Okay, that doesn’t sound like I was all too persuaded by her, but I guess I just read way too many YA books and most of the heroines follow the same pattern. I liked that she had a rather unconventional “hobby” and was so fascinated by the human body and I’ve to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed how she handled Thomas and her father. XD Still, she was rather stereotypical and I hope that her character will get more unique as the series proceeds. There’s still room for improvement and I genuinely hope that Kerri Maniscalco will use the rest of the series in order to develop Audrey Rose’s character. As far as I know this was her debut though so I’m quite confident that she’ll make it work! ;-P

”One needn’t be strong in only physical matters – a strong mind and will were fierce to behold as well.”

”While it wasn’t something I relished, it was the hard truth. I was a young girl growing up in a world run by old men. I’d pick and choose my battles wisely.”

Thomas Cresswell:

”Golden-brown eyes were perfectly set into an angular face, as if Leonardo da Vinci had painted him himself. If only my lashes were as luxuriant. His chin was squared, giving him a look of steadfast determination. Even his nose was thin and regal, giving an air of alertness to his every expression. If he weren’t so infuriatingly aware of his own intelligence, he’d be quite attractive, I supposed.”

Entrance: The irresistible love interest! ;-P Honestly, it’s almost impossible not to like Thomas! At least not if you’ve a weakness for obnoxious, presumptuous, complacent, cocksure, smug and irritating men like him! Which I obviously do. *lol* I loved the arrogant “Sherlock Holmes” vibe I got from him and I really enjoyed the way he thought. Not saying I’m a Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot myself, but I tend to be very observant as well and I like to think outside of the box so we definitely seem to have that in common. Plus that sass and his audacity! I loved it! It kind of reminded me of myself (after all my blog is named “The Sassy Library Fox” for a reason ;-P) and so I could relate to him. Cheeky, brilliant bastard! <333 I want more of him and can’t wait to read the next book, especially because I’m sure that there’s a very intriguing backstory to discover. =)

”Why don’t you talk to me about what’s really troubling you? What emotional dilemma needs sorting out?” He patted his legs. “Sit here and I’ll rock you gently until you or I or both fall asleep.”

”Ah. There’s something about you saying my name that sounds like a blessed curse,” he said. “If you can work up a good hand gesture to go along with it, that’d be exceptional.”

Uncle Jonathan:

”I stole a glance at him, but his gaze was fixed hungrily on the corpse. At times the darkness in his eyes terrified me more than the dead we butchered.”

Uncle Johnathan definitely had a creepy vibe about him but I don’t blame him for being so curious and totally absorbed by his passion. It was obvious that he lived and breathed his profession or should I rather say his calling? Despite everything I never suspected him to be Jack the Ripper though. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the police and I was really sorry for him when he ended up in that asylum. I’m sure there’s more to Uncle Jonathan’s story as well and once again I hope that Kerri Maniscalco will explore it in one of the next books.

Cousin Liza:

”Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them think they rule the world. It’s a queen who sits on that throne. Never forget that. There’s no reason you can’t wear a simple frock to work, then don the finest gown and dance the night away. But only if it pleases you.”

I really liked her cousin Liza and I wish we would have gotten more of her. I kind of admired how she found a balance between what society expected of her and what she truly believed and thought. With a mother like hers this couldn’t have been easy but she was clever enough to play along with her mother’s views and not to defy her outright. Something that can’t be said for Audrey Rose and the way she dealt with her father. *lol* This said Liza’s approach was way more diplomatic and skilful, which automatically caused her to be in my good books. XD Can we please get more Liza in “Hunting Prince Dracula”?

Superintendent Blackburn:

Blackburn walked around his desk, dropping into the chair behind it and rubbing his eyes. ”Perhaps running the estate as my father had wanted isn’t such a bad idea. I can handle a vast amount, but this is a bit much. How horrid can a life of leisure and politics be?”

I know he was supposed to be some sort of antagonist but I somehow started to like him? Haha! I mean alone that quote above! *lol* He respects Audrey Rose and her work and even though his way to court her was totally wrong he still made an effort which is more than can be said for other men during that time. =) I think he might be more Liza’s calibre though so I’d totally ship those two if they’d meet one day. ❤ As for now he was a nice addition to the cast and I’m sure he has his own interesting story to tell.

3

Audrey Rose & Thomas:

Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes” – he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper – “you’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.”

I just loved Thomas unapologetic and unashamed flirting with Audrey Rose! *lol* There’s a man that knows what he wants and I’m sure she captured his interest way earlier than we see in the book. In fact I’m pretty certain that she’s been on his radar for months already and the fact that he instantly knew who she was and worked with her uncle for quite a while indicates that this was no instalove! At least not for him, which was truly refreshing. Also did anyone else die when his composure finally crumpled and we got to see the real Thomas that’s hiding behind his calculating mind?! Thomas totally losing his mind because he was afraid someone would harm Audrey Rose was one of the best things about this book. <333 Yes, it’s tropey, yes it’s stereotypical but I still loved it! *lol* Can’t help it but I’m weak for such boys. XD Plus their easy banter was so amusing to read. I might have known that those two would end up together from the very moment they met but it was still fun to watch it unfold and I’m looking forward to more of those moments and scenes.

”Hurry along, then,” I said, grabbing my orchid and securing it safely in my journal. “I want to sit by the window.”
“Hmm.”
“What now?” I asked, losing patience.
“I usually sit by the window. You may have to sit in my lap.”

”If you’d like to see me out of my breeches, simply ask, Wadsworth. I’m more than happy to accommodate you on that front.”
“Scoundrel.”

I took a steadying breath. Thomas was a complete wreck. I gently touched his face, drawing his attention to me. “Thomas. What –“
“I thought I was going to lose you.” He ran both hands through his hair, pacing away and coming back. “I saw blood – I thought He’d slit your throat. I thought – “ He covered his face with his hands, collecting himself for a few breaths, then fixed his attention on me, swallowing hard. “You must know what you mean to me? Surely you must know how I feel about you, Audrey Rose. The thought of losing you…”

Audrey Rose & her father:

”I was unaware keeping abreast of the daily news was inappropriate. Perhaps I shall spend my time, and your money, on new corsets to bind my will from my lips,” I said sweetly. “Wearing something so constricting ought to tether my vocal cords nicely. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Talk about a complicated and strenuous father-daughter relationship. Those two didn’t give each other an inch and I could understand why. >_< Audrey Rose’s father was still grieving for his wife and he obviously loved his daughter and wanted to keep her from harm. Yet at the same time he being so strict pushed her away from him. The more he tried to keep her close the more she rebelled. The things she said to him though! *lol* I was like WOAH, GIRL! O_o Still, I’m glad they managed to sort things out in the end and that they got closer once again. ❤ I just hope their relationship will continue to be on a good terms in those next few books. Also: No surprise Thomas won her father over! XD He watched out for his girl and saved her so which kind of father wouldn’t approve of a boy like that? 😉

”Those who deserve respect are given it freely. If one must demand such a thing, he’ll never truly command it. I am your daughter, not your horse, sir.”

”Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows. My misguided intentions were good, but I’m afraid they didn’t turn out as I’d planned.” He tapped his heart. “I thought by keeping you close, keeping you safe in our home, I could protect you from such monsters.”

Audrey Rose & her brother Nathaniel:

”Father will go berserk if he discovers what you’re really doing. I fear his grasp on reality is most delicate these days. His delusions are becoming … worrisome.”

I saw this coming from miles away and truth be told I already got suspicious about Nathaniel when he told Audrey Rose that he and his friends were trying to protect the citizens of London. There’s no better way to disguise your dark deeds than to claim that you’re out at night in order to keep others safe. Who would suspect a righteous person like that? (Except of me, of course. *lol*) When it comes down to the 3 most important questions it wasn’t hard to deduce who was the murderer though. You might call them the three “w”. Who has a motive? Who had a good alibi? And who had the perfect opportunity? It was way too easy to suspect Audrey Rose’s uncle, Thomas or her father. They were the obvious choices and so I didn’t even suspect them. Pity Audrey Rose didn’t do the same. She was so hung up on the idea of her father being Jack the Ripper that she didn’t even see all those obvious signs. Bless Thomas for keeping a cool head in her stead. XD Also she loved her brother dearly and made the mistake of trusting him blindly. Beginner’s mistake. ;-P Still, I understand why she couldn’t wrap her head around the idea of him being the murderer and it’s always tough when it’s your own family….

4

“Stalking Jack the Ripper” was a very entertaining and easy read. Admittedly some of the more gory details might not be for the faint-hearted, being a scaredy fox myself I didn’t think that it was all too bad though. ;-P If you like a little mystery, easy banter and a slow-moving plot this might be the right book for you. =)

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Scythe (Neal Shusterman)

37378443

Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 21 of My Book List 2020

“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

Every once in a while there comes a book I’m not prepared for and I guess this year this nomination goes to “Scythe”. I read the blurb and the idea sounded intriguing, all of my fellow goodreaders seemed to enjoy it and so I didn’t even hesitate when I decided to put the book on “My Book List 2020”. So much to the thought process that led me to read this book.

What I didn’t know and therefore didn’t take into account was how invested I would be! I mean HOLY FEAKING MOLY!!! This was one hell of a freaky ride and even though my mind is reeling faster than a rat race I still loved every second of it. There were plenty of moments I thought I’d go bananas and even though the plot twists in “Scythe” weren’t as brutal as in – let’s say “Illuminae” – they were still pretty ferocious! Like, really, really, fierce. *lol*

I lost count of how often I went all “WHAT??!! NO!!! THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!” and “ADSFJKLMNÖAKDJASKDFJ” because I just couldn’t put my exasperation into words! If you take a closer look at my updates while I read the book you might get an idea though! ;-P Still, regardless of my crazy reactions this book was nothing but amazing! I loved how it made me think and question the decisions of the MCs and I adored that even though at first everything in this world seemed to be black and white it ultimately turned out to be all different shades of grey! From light grey to dark-grey and everything in between. Okay, admittedly there was one character that was completely black but I’ll get to that in my characters section.

So without further ado, let’s get ready to rumble!

2

Beware! You are about to enter the all-seeing and all-knowing Thunderhead! Nothing is secret in here and spoilers will hit you at every corner! If you’re not ready to know it all you better retreat and come back another time! ;-P

Citra Terranova:

”You see through the facades of the world, Citra Terranova. You’d make a good scythe.”
Citra recoiled. “I’d never want to be one.”
“That,” he said, “is the first requirement.”
Then he left to kill their neighbor.

I just noticed that this is the only quote I wrote down when it comes to Citra! Which is pretty strange but then again I think nothing gives a better first impression about her character than this statement. Citra doesn’t want to be a Scythe and when she starts her apprenticeship with Scythe Faraday she always seems to ask the right questions. Citra was a really interesting character because she never took things for granted. There was always her curiosity that caused her to second guess decisions others made and I loved to watch how she grew into her role! I’m sure she’ll make a really good Scythe and I have absolutely no doubt that she’ll glean with compassion. Citra was lucky to have Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie as her mentors and boy did I wish Rowan would have had the same training! >_<

Rowan Damisch:

”Can you at least give him a few minutes to prepare?” Rowan asked.
“Are you telling me how to do my job?”
“I’m asking you for some mercy!”

I LOVED ROWAN!!!! Mostly because I could relate to him so much! That boy had guts and whilst Citra asked the right questions he refused to make the wrong decisions. ❤ I hated that he became Scythe Goddard’s apprentice and I felt so damn sorry for him! I wish he would have gotten a nice Scythe like Curie but of course he had to end up with Goddard. =(( I swear I felt so much with him. He had to survive his apprenticeship with that despicable man and all the time he knew that he’d eventually die at the hands of Citra in the end. For Rowan there was no doubt that she’d become a Scythe and it broke my heart!!! T_T His constant fight against becoming a monster was so painful to watch. It were his circumstances that forced him to act in a way he never wanted to and it were his circumstances that made him the man he became at the end. Gosh, my heart is still bleeding for him! There is so much good in Rowan and no one is able to see it because they only see Scythe Goddard’s training. It’s so unfair, I can’t even!!!!! ADFLKASDFJASLKDFJASDLKFSAJDF! Erm, yes, I guess it’s obvious that I still feel very strongly about this! *lol* My poor boy! *sobs* Also Scythe Volta… I’ll never get over his death. He was so broken at the end. T_T

”Numb. Rowan could feel himself growing numb – and while it might have been a good thing for his beleaguered sanity, it was not a good thing for his soul.”

”And Rowan found himself smiling. Something had torn loose inside of him. He didn’t know whether it was a good thing or not. And while part of him felt like falling to his knees and hurling up breakfast, another part of him wanted to howl to the moon like a wolf.”

”He was too quick. He hurled himself like a fireball down the center aisle. The scythes closest to him leaped into action, trying to stop him, but he kicked and spun, and sliced and flipped. No one could get a hand on him. To Scythe Anastasia he seemed some deadly force of nature.”

Scythe Goddard:

”Let’s clarify,” Goddard said calmly. “We are not here to barter and bargain. We are scythes – which means that by law, anything we want we can take. Any life we wish to end, we will. Simple as that. You have no power here. Do I make myself clear?”

I ABSOLUTELY HATED THIS MAN!!! With the fierce fire of a thousand hells and the burning eternity of the sun!! ARGH!!! Just to think about him already makes me angry! How dare he to play god? How dare he to kill for pleasure?! In his hands Scythedom became nothing but a brutal sport! He misused his power in the worst possible way and I was not okay with his training methods! Those people they killed for sport were still living, breathing and feeling human beings! Just because they could be revived doesn’t mean that it was okay to slaughter them like that. His teachings were so unacceptable and morally reprehensible, I have no words!!! The problem with Goddard was that between his madness and his wish to feel pleasure when he did this job, there were still moments when his words rang true and appealed to people like us who still live in a world in which you feel pain and die. I mean if you can live forever and never have to worry about death when you do something stupid, are you even capable of enjoying your life? Isn’t every day just like the last? There comes a certain thrill with being mortal and I suppose they lost this after the Thunderhead and Scythedom were invented. So maybe people like Goddard were a homemade problem of the invention of those two? I dunno. Boy, this book made me think so much. >_<

”Take great satisfaction and pleasure in this, Rowan,” said Scythe Goddard, “or you’ll be nothing more than a killing machine.”

”We are angels of death,” said Scythe Goddard. “It is only fitting that we swoop in from the heavens.”

Scythe Faraday:

”Ha!” said the unsavoury, puffing up at his strategic triumph. “I’ve got immunity for a year – and you can’t undo it! I know the rules!”
Scythe Faraday was unfazed. “Yes, good for you,” he said. “You have three hundred sixty-five days of immunity.” And then, looking him in the eye, said, “And I’ll be seeing you on day three hundred sixty-six.”

I really liked Scythe Faraday and the way he taught Citra and Rowan. If there would have been more Scythes like him they probably would have never had the trouble with Scythe Goddard. Faraday still had compassion for the people he gleaned even though I’ve to admit that I sometimes didn’t like the way he did it. I understand that he wanted to give every person an individual death because in our world people die from various and different reasons and he wanted to keep close to the origins of mortality. I would have never been able to drown someone though. It’s a cruel way to go and if the people you glean are already afraid of you it would have been merciful to gift them with a quick death. I mean the moment a Scythe tells you that you’re going to be gleaned you feel afraid, you feel all those feelings you eluded for decades, maybe even centuries. So they ARE scared shitless and worry about their family and friends. With the prospect of imminent death they become so very human again and I couldn’t for the life of me, glean them with a painful or cruel method. So yeah, I suppose even Scythe Faraday had his grey sides.

”Never lose your humanity,” Scythe Faraday had told him, “or you’ll be nothing more than a killing machine.”

Scythe Curie:

”The killers are rising to power,” Scythe Curie said. “And if they do, the days of this world will be very dark indeed. It is left to the truly honourable scythes to stand firm against it. I look forward to the day you join in that fight.”

Judging by the way Scythe Curie acted I would have never believed that she and Scythe Faraday had a romantic relationship! They did though and that was quite some revelation. *lol* I admit at first I was no big fan of her. I mean the first test Citra and Rowan had to take was so unfair! All the others got questions that had to do with their apprenticeship and Citra and Rowan got really personal questions no person in their right mind would have answered truthfully in a room full of Scythes! Like seriously! How could you even ask them a question like that!? I mean okay, Rowan’s question would have been easy to answer but still, I understand why he didn’t want to yell it out into the world. XD Still, the more I got to know Scythe Curie the better I began to understand her motives. I was glad that she didn’t only believe Citra but also helped her to escape into another country. The machinations of Scythe Goddard were quite effective but in the end Citra’s reputation was restored and no one believed that she killed Faraday. Jeez! His suicide was a surprise and that Citra was accused of murdering him was just the icing on the cake! I never saw those plot twists coming!

3

Citra & Rowan:

”They were partners; they were adversaries – and Rowan found it increasingly hard to parse his feelings about her. All he knew was that he liked watching her write.”

Their relationship was doomed right from the moment they met! At first they had to compete for an apprenticeship neither of them even wanted and then they were sentenced to kill whoever failed to get said apprenticeship! Which was so UNFAIR I CAN’T EVEN!!!! Hell, was I angry when I read about the decision of the Conclave. How dare they to force them to make each other their first gleaning? ARGH!!! There were so many obstacles that got in their way and all I wanted was for them to be happy! No matter what happened, no matter how much they grew apart they still loved each other and this made all the difference! They trusted each other even though others didn’t and I loved them for their faith! <33 That moment when Rowan broke Citra’s neck though!!! AAKDFSAFJDSAKFDJ! I can’t believe he actually did this and I can’t believe Citra saw through it!!! And that FREAKING ENDING??!!! I was just glad I wasn’t on my lounger at my parent’s garden. Otherwise I would have swallowed about a thousand gnats. Yes, I was so gobsmacked I wasn’t able to close my mouth! *lol* Citra saving Rowan by getting his blood on her ring was such a calculated and smooth move I couldn’t help but be in awe of her genius! Just brilliant! Also they said I love you!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!! *dies a thousand deaths*

”I haven’t fallen in love with you, Rowan. And now I want to keep it that way.”Rowan got up and moved to the safety of the threshold before turning back to her. “It’s all right, Citra,” he told her. “I haven’t fallen in love with you, either.”

”It’s good to see you, Citra,” he said. “But it hurts to see you. It hurts a lot, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

He thought he could not be more impressed by her. She had just proved him wrong.

“I love you,” he said.
“Same here,” she responded. “Now get lost.”

Scythe Goddard & Rowan:

”That’s such a load of crap.” Rowan said, not even caring what response it might evoke.
Goddard merely raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps … but you can’t deny this is a turning point in your life, and every turning point must be marked by an event – one that burns itself into you as indelibly as a brand.”

O_o Their relationship was sooo twisted and it blew my mind big time. And their dynamic? Well, it was crazy! I mean Goddard was Rowan’s mentor and taught him all the wrong things, yet Rowan refused to become the killing machine Goddard wanted him to be. He became a killing machine with a conscience instead and I still don’t know if this is good or bad. Rowan certainly didn’t choose the easy path and I loved how he defied Goddard whenever he got a chance. Also one of the strangest things about their relationship was that Goddard actually seemed to be awed by Rowan’s skill. He was proud of him the way a parent would have been and he sort of admired him as well?! Their relationship was so weird… Poor Rowan, I guess in the end he partly became what he never wanted to be. The suicide of Scythe Volta was such a shock but what shocked me even more was how Rowan slaughtered Goddard and his followers. That chapter at the Tonist cult was so … OMG!! Hell, he killed them all and made it look like it was an accident! He killed Scythes and no one could prove it! JEEZ! He gleaned them and made sure that nothing of their remains was left so they couldn’t be resurrected again! ADLFASDFJSALDFJASLDFJALSDFJSALDFJ! I think I’ll never get over this! I love Rowan so much but this was so, so… wrong. ARGH! Also his name as a Scythe! Scythe Lucifer!!! So perfect but also so GAH! Seriously, I just can’t put my emotions into words. *pulls at hair*

”We could have been called reapers,” Goddard said, “but our founders saw fit to call us scythes – because we are the weapons in mankind’s immortal hand. You are a fine weapon, Rowan, sharp, and precise. And when you strike, you are glorious to behold.”

”I am what you made me,” he told Goddard. “And you’re right: I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that more than anything I’ve ever done in my life.”

4

The more I think about this book the more I get agitated! “Scythe” blew my mind in the best and worst possible way and I think it’s undeniable that it was thought-provoking as hell! It is one of those rare books that still resonates in your head even though you finished it weeks ago! It poses the right questions but leaves the answers up to you and I don’t know about you, but I for my part, am hooked! Suspenseful, mind blowing, thought-provoking and extremely unsettling! Ladies and Gents, this is the real deal! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Siege and Storm (Leigh Bardugo)

18525661
Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

”You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai?” I asked as I closed the book’s cover and headed for the door. “They always end up dead.”

Do you know the song “One to Make Her Happy” from Marque? No? That’s unfortunate, because while I read this book I had a horrible earworm and couldn’t get it out of my head. I was basically humming it the entire time and decided to change the name from Daisy to Alina. I’m sure by now you’re curious about the lyrics and I’m happy to oblige:

“One to make her happy (Mal)
One to make her sad (The Darkling)
One to give her good love
That she never had (Nikolai)
Daisy Alina and her boyfriends
Livin’ in a house
Sharing just a good life.
That was four years ago.
Now Daisy Alina blew the whole show.”

Very suitable, right? *lol* I swear to read “Siege and Storm” really felt like Alina and I had 3 different boyfriends because seriously, who’s able to choose between all those awesome boys? I just love them all for different reasons and if forced to make a decision I’m afraid I couldn’t even choose for the life of me. XD They are all great and they all have their pros and cons. ;-P Still, it would be a lie if I’d claim that Nikolai didn’t make me swoon. Such an awesome man! *sighs deeply* Then again The Darkling is still hot and Mal is still sweet so … URGH!!! See what I’m talking about? *lol*

Guess Alina and I will have to be Daisy for a little while longer. 😉 Hopefully book three will make it easier to choose. XD Still, the ending of “Siege and Storm” was heavy and I really don’t know what Leigh is going to come up with in the last book. I bet she has a lot in store for us and truth be told, I’m not entirely sure if I’m ready. Haha!

Seems like I’ll just have to dive into it and find out though! 😉

The characters:

I’m afraid there will be lots of spoilers in here because the fate of some of the characters really made me go all: WOW!! NO!! ARGH!! WHY?! So consider yourself warned! This is the cupboard door to my spoiler section and if you don’t want to be spoiled you better don’t enter my personal Narnia. ;-P

Alina:

”I don’t care if you think I’m a Saint or a fool or the Darklings’s whore. If you want to remain at the Little Palace, you will follow me. And if you don’t like it, you will be gone by tonight, or I will have you in chains. I am a soldier. I am the Sun Summoner. And I’m the only chance you have.”

I think I liked Alina more in this one! She was no longer the naïve heroine and finally started to show her claws. *lol* Hard to say if this was due to the influence of Nikolai or because of what happened with the Darkling, no matter the reason I’m still glad she decided to take the reins and did what needed to be done. Some might argue that she’s too young for all this but considering how long the Darkling was able to fool everyone around him I think it’s safe to say that Alina really might be their best bet. XD The ending however was quite heavy! I mean poor girl! If she’s already so weak and broken how is the Darkling going to fare? I really don’t know in which direction book 3 will go and because this rarely happens I’m more than just intrigued. 😉 I hope Alina won’t die, I really do.

The Darkling:

The faint tracery of scars on his face was barely visible, like the ghost of a map. One ran perilously close to his right eye. He’d almost lost it. He cupped my cheek with his hand, and when he spoke, his voice was almost tender. “They’re just the beginning,” he whispered.

WOAH!! Well, the Darkling was quite a surprise in this one. I always knew that he’s ruthless and prone to cruelty; I didn’t expect him to go all DARK though. *lol* I think it might have to do with what happened at the Fold and I’m pretty sure that he lost the grip on his own darkness. It’s just a theory but in the first book it was him who controlled the darkness and guided it to do his bidding and I think that this changed drastically. Now it seems more like the darkness got a hold of him and is consuming him in order to achieve its goals. Would explain why he’s so drained by the nichevo’ya he creates. Still, I can’t really hate him for what he’s done because he’s just a too good villain and I always appreciate a good villain when I see one. *lol* Hmm… maybe he can still be saved?

Mal:

”Easy, now. Mustn’t get blood on the uniform. Let me explain – “
“Try explaining with my first in your mouth.”

Haha! Mal! I can’t help but like that boy! His honesty is so refreshing and the fact he never bothers to filter his thoughts is very entertaining. *lol* Even after finishing the second book I still don’t get why so many people seem to hate him. He’s a nice and decent guy and I think everything he said and did was justified. Yes, he didn’t have to drink himself senseless and gamble in the bars but it was his only way to deal with his situation and you can’t really blame him for it. At least I don’t. Life is tough, we all have our vices and try our best to deal with the cards that we’re given. It’s obvious that he loves Alina more than anything and it’s also rather plain that this love started to destroy and poison him. Plus Alina really wasn’t the most understanding person. So yes, I still like Mal and I’m not sorry about it!!! ❤

”And there’s no way I’m leaving you alone with Prince Perfect.”
“So you don’t trust me to resist his charms?”
“I don’t even trust myself.”

Nikolai:

I blew out a frustrated breath. “Do you ever answer a question directly?”
“Hard to say. Ah, there, I’ve done it again.”

OH BOY!!! Nikolai is so awesome!! I can’t even!! <333 Yes, I’m having a crazy fangirl moment here but seriously, what’s not to love?! This guy is amazing and I just love everything about him. His attitude, his cunning plans, his many different faces, his compassion and passion. Well, basically everything that comes out of his mouth. *lol* Leigh truly outdid herself when she created this wonderful man and I’ll be forever thankful that she wrote him down on paper! ❤ I love that he has principles and rules he lives by and if things would have gone my way Vasily wouldn’t even have gotten close to the throne. It’s obvious that Nikolai is the best choice and I really hope that there’ll be something left of Ravka once he’s able to rule! Still, right now I don’t know what happened to him and this is such a mean move! *lol* Leigh what happened to Nikolai?!!! Guess I’ll have to read the last book soon! XD

”Now that’s a word best not used around me. I tend to be overfond of risk.”

”You never improvise,” I said. “Everything you do is calculated. You change personalities the way other people change hats. And you know what? It’s creepy. Aren’t you ever just yourself?”
“I’m a prince, Alina. I can’t afford to be myself.”

”When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”

Genya:

”She and David stay behind the group. She can’t move very quickly.” He paused. “The pilgrims call her “Razrusha’ya.”
The Ruined.”

My poor, poor girl! T_T I can’t believe that the Darkling did this to her!!! She didn’t deserve this! Just because she helped Alina to flee? It’s not fair and I would have expected better from the Darkling! I mean I know he’s the villain but Genya was so loyal to him and that’s how he thanks her? My poor Genya! I just want to hug her and tell her that everything will get better and that she’s still the most beautiful woman of Ravka! <333 I really hope David will do all those things because if not I’m going to kick him in his skinny behind. *lol*

The ships:

Alina & The Darkling:

”He can’t wait to get away from you,” I said, hovering by the door. “He’s afraid of what you’ve become. They all are.”
“Do you fear me, Alina?”
“That’s what you want, isn’t it?”
The Darkling shrugged. “Fear is a powerful ally,” he said. “And loyal.”

The moments between those two were rather short in this book and I really would have loved to see more of them together. They had such a nice chemistry in “Shadow and Bone” and despite everything Alina still seems to be drawn to him. Well, the Darkling certainly has an irresistible allure. Can’t blame her for it. ;-P Still, I hope I’ll get more of them in the last book because they are just too intriguing together. XD

Alina & Mal:

”You wanted to wear the second amplifier. You have it. You want to go to Os Alta? Fine, we’ll go. You say you need the firebird. I’ll find a way to get it for you. But when all this is over, Alina, I wonder if you’ll still want me.”

Aww those two killed me! It’s like they just can’t be together because the entire world and their own fate is against them. Alina can’t hand over her responsibility because she’s the only sun summoner and basically the only person who’s able to stop the Darkling and Mal can’t be at her side because he’d be like Icarus getting too close to the sun. T_T He doesn’t understand her powers and the need to use them and even though he doesn’t get it he still decided to be with her. Right now I really see no way how their relationship could be able to work out. I mean it’s not like Alina will stop being Grisha and Mal can’t stop being a tracker as well. *sighs* It’s such a muddled situation….

”Why didn’t you say something?”
“What could I say? And when? I barely see you anymore.”
“I thought you wanted to go.”
“I wanted you to ask me to stay.”

Alina & Nikolai:

”What’s a pirate doing on a whaler?” I asked.
“Privateer,” he corrected. “I have several ships. The Darkling wanted a whaler, so I got him one.”
“You mean you stole it.”
“Acquired it.”
“You were in my cabin.”
“Many women dream of me,” he said lightly as he steered me down the deck.

Now those two!! *LOL* I lived for their conversations!! I swear Nikolai is so, so damn awesome! Did I already tell you how much I love this man?! I’m sure I did! Haha! Well, the chemistry between Alina and Nikolai was amazing as well and I can’t say how much I loved it that she wasn’t swooning and drooling all over him like everyone else! XD She saw him as a normal person and that’s what made their scenes so perfect. =) I think my favourite moment was the encounter at the lake and the fact that Nikolai turned her down, because he knew she’d only use him as a make-do. I love this man, I really, really do! <333 For some reason I doubt that Alina will end up with him though.

”The Darkling will hunt you for the rest of your days.”
“Then you and I will have something in common, won’t we? Besides, I like to have powerful enemies. Makes me feel important.”
Mal crossed his arms and considered the privateer. “I can’t decide if you’re crazy or stupid.”
“I have so many good qualities,” Sturmhond said. “It can be hard to choose.”

”And what are you doing to be useful, your highness?”
“I’m a prince,” said Nikolai. “Being useful isn’t part of my job description. But,” he added, “when I’m not lazing about being handsome, I’ll be trying to better equip the First Army and gather intelligence on the Darkling’s location.”

”I want to kiss you,” Nikolai said. “But I won’t. Not until you’re thinking of me instead of trying to forget him.”

Conclusion:

Once again I was hooked until the very end and once again I couldn’t help it and already started with the next book even though I didn’t even write my review for this one. I guess it’s safe to say that this series is really enjoyable and entertaining, especially now that Nikolai entered the scene!! ;-P
I can’t wait to read more about him and I want to see so much more of all of Daisy’s Alina’s other boyfriends love interests as well. *lol*

So all I can say is: Happy Reading! I hope you’ll love “Siege and Storm” as much as I did! 😉

P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)

23593321
Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

”What’s going on?”
“I don’t know, Jeevan. That’s the short answer. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a flu, that much is obvious, but I’ve never seen anything like it. It is so fast. It just seems to spread so quickly –“

This is one of the rare times I’m actually searching for the right words and if you know me, you know that this doesn’t happen all too often. *lol* To describe this book is kind of hard though so bear with me when I don’t always manage to convey my thoughts and feelings. It’s not easy with a book like “Station Eleven” because it’s so unlike any other post-apocalyptic book I ever read.

Sure, it begins with the Georgia Flu that wipes out about 90% of humankind, but unlike other books it doesn’t focus on the illness, but rather on the lives of the few people who survived it. AND it centres on the life of Arthur Leander, an actor who died on stage shortly before the flu broke out.

”This is my soul and the world unwinding, this is my heart in the still winter air.”

The narration of this book is kind of complicated because it doesn’t only jump between different POVs but also alternates between different timelines. There’s the one after the Georgia flu and there’s the one before the flu. The one that tells the story of a man who lives in our modern world. A world with electricity, running water, i-phones, divorces and tv screens, a world with medicine and airplanes. A world in which everything is still possible and in which everyone takes everything for granted.

”What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

This sentence stuck with me, because it explains the book and the characters that live in it so well. If you lived in our world, if you were a child and got a taste of it, you remember what it used to be and how easy everything was. Can you imagine a world without the internet? Without flushing toilets and electricity? Without supermarkets that provide you with food? Well, once you know this comfort it’s kind of hard to live without it. Believe me and take the word of a person who’s been at plenty of music festivals that went on for four days and nights. *lol* I know what I’m talking about. ;-P

”Beneath the fury was something literally unspeakable, the television news carrying an implication that no one could yet bring themselves to consider. It was possible to comprehend the scope of the outbreak, but it wasn’t possible to comprehend what it meant.”

This book is not about the Georgia flu and it’s outbreak, no, it’s about people and their lives before and after “the unspeakable” happened. There are items that connect those people throughout the course of those years and I really loved that aspect of the book. It gave me comfort, it gave me hope. Just to know that the past wasn’t forgotten, that a simple paperweight and the “Station Eleven” comic books survived and were passed on. That some of those characters actually remembered!

”First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

Kirsten Raymond, Jeevan, Arthur Leander, Miranda, Elizabeth, Clarke and Tyler. They are all connected with each other, they just don’t know it. Their lives are interwoven, in the past, the present and the future and no matter if they are unaware of it or not, a little part of them continues to live on. The experiences they made, the past they shared, the effects of it on their future, it’s one big cycle and it’s their story to tell…

“Station Eleven” is an intricate and interwoven piece of literature that makes you not only think about the things you lost and left behind but also inevitably forces you to gaze at everything that lies in the future ahead of you. It gives you hope and when everything is said and done, when your world turns dark and lonely, it’s exactly this kind of hope that helps you to carry on.

„Survival is insufficient.“

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

26795341

Rating: 4 Pfoten

This book was so damn cute and extremely sweet and incredibly adorable! XD

It tasted like a hot cup of coffee in early spring,
it felt like warm summer rain caressing your skin,
it was as beautiful as a colourful sunrise in September and
it smelled like a clear night sky in the middle of a cold winter night.

In short: It gave me all those awesome fluffy, cozy and happy feels!! ! =)))

I loved everything about “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda”! From the bands and the music that was mentioned throughout the entire book right up to the „Harry Potter“ and „Fruits Basket“ references. And OMG Simon’s and Blue’s mails!!! Gosh they were so damn cute, they were argh! I can’t even say how much I loved those two!!! This book was just marvellous and as a fangirl I really felt like I finally arrived in seventh heaven! *lol*

”I have to admit I like to imagine you as a kid fantasizing about junk food. I also like to imagine you now fantasizing about sex. I can’t believe I just wrote that. I can’t believe I’m hitting send.“

I began to read this book and at some point realised that I couldn’t stop anymore. The mystery about Blue’s true identity pushed me to read on and even though I had my suspicions I still found great pleasure in collecting the hints and trying to make some assumptions. XD
I’ve to admit that this book got me hooked and I’m not ashamed to confess that I actually loved every second of it! ;-P

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

So yeah, now that I got this off my chest, I finally should be able to write my actual review!

The Plot:

Simon is sixteen years old and has a huge secret. He’s gay and he’s flirting with a guy who calls himself Blue and is more than just adorable. Well, that’s Simon’s opinion and I’ve to confess that I agree! He’s really damn cute! XD Anyway, Simon has never met Blue in real life and all they have ever done was to write very personal e-mails, personal e-mails that unfortunately end up in the wrong hands. Martin, a classmate of Simon accidentally stumbles upon them and since he has a huge crush on one of Simon’s friends, he decides to use them as leverage to force Simon to help him. Martin wants a date with Abby and if Simon doesn’t assist him, he’s going to out him to the whole world. What a mess!!! XD

The Characters:

Spoiler alert! You may stop here or continue to read at your own risk! 😉

Simon:

”So here’s the thing: Simon means ‘the one who hears’ and Spier means ‘the one who watches.” Which means I was basically destined to be nosy.

I loved, loved, loved and adored Simon!!! Gosh that boy is such a precious cutiepie!!! He’s funny and he’s refreshingly honest (well except of his little secret of course)! I could understand him so well and I think in some way I found myself in him. I mean Simon and I have a lot in common and I guess that’s probably the reason why I liked him so much! XD I hated that other people made him feel so insecure and I could understand his wish to get to know Blue in real life! Jeez! I was at the same point when I got to know my husband and it was so damn easy for me to relate to Simon’s struggle! =) Still, no matter what happened to him, he always stood his ground and I truly loved him for it!! Simon is so brave and I swear when he told Martin his opinion about his post on Tumblr I was all like: YEAH! Damn right, tell him what he did!!! XD

“And you know what? You don’t get to say it’s not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be – this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.” Suddenly, my throat gets thick. “So, yeah, you took that away from me. And then you brought Blue into it? Seriously? You fucking suck, Martin. I mean, I don’t even want to look at you.”

Still, it hurt to know that Blue was too shy to show himself and the fact Simon was so down made me sad as well! Gosh! I think Simon actually is the most relatable character I ever had the pleasure to encounter. *lol* Everything he thought and did affected me so deeply! XD
And I swear the moment Blue found out about Simon’s identity just took my breath away!!!

”Jacques a dit. Right?

I was all like OH. MY. GOD!!!! It was kind of unfair though. I mean Blue obviously knew who Simon was, but Simon actually had no clue who Blue might be! XD What made it even worse, was that he didn’t even know if his feelings were reciprocated, because they actually stopped to write mails right after Simon’s identity was revealed! Oh my poor Simon! It was so painful to read!!! =(((

”Obviously, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here, but what I’m trying to say is that I like you. I more than like you. When I flirt with you, it’s not a joke, and when I say I want to know you, it’s not just because I’m curious. I’m not going to pretend I know how this ends, and I don’t have a freaking clue if it’s possible to fall in love over email. But I would really like to meet you, Blue. I want to try this. And I can’t imagine a scenario where I won’t want to kiss your face off as soon as I see you.
Just wanted to make that perfectly clear.”

This scene resonated so much with me! I actually once wrote a pretty similar mail as well! *lol*

Blue:

”I completely understand what you mean about feeling locked into yourself. For me, I don’t even think it has anything to do with other people thinking they know me. It’s more that I want to leap in and say certain things and do certain things, but I always seem to hold myself back. I think a big part of me is afraid.”

Oh Blue, he was so insecure and shy and somehow this only made him even more adorable! There were moments when he was so brave and then all of a sudden he was too intimidated by Simon’s mails to even give him his number. XD Blue had his own struggles to deal with and just too see how much those two tried to support each other and the way they fell in love. OMG! It was just too much! *lol* I loved so many things about Blue. His correct grammar, the way he expressed himself and the words he used! It was obvious he was a smart kid and *lol* I guess deep down within me I already knew who was behind his nickname! ;-P I needed to read it though! *LOL*

”And I do think you’re cute. You’re absurdly cute. I think I spend a little too much time thinking how adorable you are in emails and trying to translate that into a viable mental image for daydreams and the like.

“And the like…” Haha oh boy did that one sentence mess with Simon’s head! Truth be told, I wouldn’t have reacted any different, though. See, once again a moment where I could relate to Simon’s POV!!! XD

”P.S. I love the way you smile like you don’t realize you’re doing it. I love your perpetual bed head. I love the way you hold eye contact a moment longer than you need to. And I love your moon-gray eyes. So if you think I’m not attracted to you, Simon, you’re crazy.”

Awww… just Aww! I melted when I read that note and to think Simon found it so late and didn’t even know it was there!! Holy moly! It killed me! *lol*

Martin:

I didn’t like him! Yes, I know he apologised in the end but damn what he did was just soo freaking mean and horrible! I mean he outed Simon on Christmas!! Who would ever do such a thing? My poor Simon had to deal with all this on a day that’s supposed to be one of the nicest of the entire year!! And this just because a stupid oaf called Martin had a crush on his friend Abby and couldn’t accept that she wasn’t interested in him!! I mean! ARGH!! That boy didn’t even think twice about the consequences his actions would entail! And yesh, there were plenty of consequences for poor Simon!!!

Simon’s friends:

”But I’ve known Leah since sixth grade, and Nick since we were four. And this gay thing. It feels so big. It’s almost insurmountable. I don’t know how to tell them something like this and still come out of it feeling like Simon. Because if Leah and Nick don’t recognize me, I don’t even recognize myself anymore.”

They were amazing! Sure, sometimes I was angry with them because they didn’t understand Simon’s situation and thought everything was about them. I mean I understand why Abby was pissed but seriously, what was Simon supposed to do? He couldn’t really tell her that he was blackmailed by Martin and in the end nothing of what Simon did actually had any consequences for her. She chose Nick and Martin as well as Leah had to accept it. Period. And Leah? I know she felt left out, but it wasn’t like Simon could have done anything to stop Nick and Abby falling in love! *lol* I mean alone the thought is kind of ridiculous! XD
Still, no matter their feelings, they always stood up for Simon and I think that’s the important thing! You quarrel with your friends because you love them and when it comes down to it they’re always there for you! 😉

“Did you just tell us you’re gay?“ asks Nick.
„Yes.“
„Okay,“ he says. Abby swats him. „What?“
„That’s all you’re going to say? ‘Okay’?“
„He said not to make a big deal out of it,“ Nick says. „What am I supposed to say?“
„Say something supportive. I don’t know. Or awkwardly hold his hand like I did. Anything.“
Nick and I look at each other.
„I’m not holding your hand,“ I tell him, smiling a little.
„All right“ – he nods – „but know that I would.”

Simon’s family:

”My dad invented the concept of Simon logic, and I can’t seem to outgrow it. It means whishful thinking supported by flimsy evidence.”

I loved how they interacted with each other! They were so open and amazing and I had to laugh about their strange family habits. I mean alone the idea of scavenger hunting on Facebook! That was hilarious! *lol* To be a guest in their house certainly would have been funny as hell!! XD And the way Simon outed himself to his family? Haha it was priceless!!! Sure his father made many jokes but in the end he still loved his son and he felt sorry for being so oblivious and careless! =)) Alice and Nora were darlings and I guess to have two sisters like that is actually more than just a blessing!

”Well, I’m just going to put this out there, in case the message got lost somewhere. I love you. A lot. No matter what. And I know it’s got to be awesome having the cool dad.”
“Ahem,” says my mom.
“Excuse me. The cool parents. The hardcore, badass, hipster parents.”
“Oh, it’s awesome,” I say.
“But rein us in if you need to, okay? Rein me in,” he says. He rubs his chin. “I know I didn’t make it easy for you to come out. We’re very proud of you. You’re pretty brave, kid.”

And the ending?!
It was perfect!!! I was so happy I grinned like a Cheshire cat!!! I just couldn’t stop! *LOL*
Gah, it was so cute and adorable and the way Blue finally made his appearance!!! I think I actually died!!! XD

”The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat – soft and persistent, underlying everything.”

If you haven’t read “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” , you definitely should do it now!!!!
Drop everything you’re reading because Simon definitely will bring happiness into your life! 😉
Just allow yourself to be enchanted! XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo)

26642116

Rating: 5 Pfoten

How to begin this review?
How to put into words how much I loved these characters and this book?
How am I supposed to write down all those many feels?

And most importantly,
How can I live with this ache in my chest?

I have no answer to all of those questions, but I know that I have to write this review!
So here I go!

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

When I first read about “Six of Crows” I thought that it would be a fun read. You know one of those books that are easy to read and make you laugh. I expected to read a story that was able to enthral me. A story I would enjoy and classify as intriguing.

“Six of Crows” was all of that and yet it was so much more!!!

I was not prepared to fall in love with all of those beautiful characters and I certainly didn’t expect to be so affected by their lives and background stories. Every single one of those six individuals touched my heart and I know that “Six of Crows” actually is supposed to be a story about a dangerous heist and an adventure. To me it was so much more than that though. It was a story about life and hate and the choices that we make. It was a tale about the people and experiences that shape us. But most of all it actually was a secret and subtle homage to love.

I can’t even put into words how much Leigh Bardugo’s book moved me, but I can tell you that “Six of Crows” is brilliantly written and left me longing for more!

Now that I got this off my chest I’m finally able to write the actual review and since you all know me you also know what to expect. 😉

The plot:
Kaz Brekker is the right-hand man of the leader of the Dregs, one of the many gangs that live in the Barrel territory of Ketterdam and try their best to get by. One day a merchant named Van Eck offers him an obscene amount of money he can’t refuse and this is exactly the moment when everything gets into motion. To get this job done Kaz has to hire the best crew the Barrel has to offer and since they aren’t only supposed to break into the Ice Court but also aim to save a hostage, they actually got a lot of trouble ahead of them.

This is the moment where I take the liberty to inform you that the characters section is going to be full of spoilers. So yeah, tread carefully and don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;-P

The characters:

And yet they hesitated. The knowledge that they might never see each other again, that some of them – maybe all of them – might not survive this night hung heavy in the air. A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.

Kaz:

Kaz shook his head, dark hair glinting in the lamplight. He was a collection of hard lines and tailored edges – sharp jaw, lean build, wool coat snug across his shoulders.”

He is the brilliant leader of the crew and also known as “Dirtyhands” or “The bastard of the Barrel”! After reading the second chapter I was already in love with his sharp and intriguing mind and damn me but that boy’s intelligence is hot as hell!!! XD Alone his scheming face! *lol* I love characters that are driven and have some inner strength and Kaz definitely didn’t disappoint me. He’s so strong but vulnerable at the same time and I swear when I read about his past and saw how much he struggled my heart actually ached for him. It was so hard to watch him while he tried to keep his composure and whenever I read his POV it felt like his anxiety choked me. There is so much more to Kaz than initially meets the eye and I can’t believe that no one of his crew ever bothered to see past his disguise. Not even Inej…. *sigh*

”Sure of yourself, aren’t you, Brekker?”
“Myself and nothing else.”

”You might say I’m a lockpick.”
“You must be a very gifted one.”
“I am indeed.” Kaz leaned back slightly. “You see, every man is a safe, a vault of secrets and longings. Now, there are those who take the brute’s way, but I prefer a gentler approach – the right pressure applied at the right moment, in the right place. It’s a delicate thing.”

”It was because she was listening so closely that she knew the exact moment when Kaz Brekker, Dirtyhands, the bastard of the Barrel and the deadliest boy in Ketterdam, fainted.”

Inej:

”Her eyes were so brown they were almost black, and for once her hair was down. She always wore it tied back in a ruthlessly tight coil. Even the idea of being this near someone should have set his skin crawling. Instad he thought, What happens if I move closer?”

Oh how much I liked this brave and calm girl. The “Wraith” was awesome and considering her past I really couldn’t help but had to admire her strength. Just like Kaz she also had secrets she didn’t want to share and whenever she came across Tante Heleen I was literally able to taste her fear. It was so painful to read what she’d gone through and what had happened to her but at the same time her courage kind of threw me. I mean there is this fragile little girl that was once one of Tante Heleen’s many subjects and even though she’s so young and small, she’s still a lethal weapon who’s able to kill even the strongest man. Inej is kick-ass and I loved her for it!!! XD

”Inej – “ said Kaz.
“Nina and I can get inside,” she continued. Her back was straight, her tone steady. She looked like someone facing the firing squad and saying damn the blindfolds. “We enter with the Menagerie.”

Matthias:

”It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”

Haha oh man, Matthias! What to say about him? He’s a huge and stupid brute but I still love him! *lol* I could understand why he was so angry at Nina and what bound him to his people but sometimes I just wanted to shake him for his stupidity! At the beginning of the book he was so ignorant and oblivious to his faults but the more I got to know him the more I could see why Nina fell for him. He’s one of those men that have a hard shell and a soft core and even though he has his flaws, he still always tried to do the right thing. I think his main problem was that he’d been indoctrinated to hate Grisha from a very young age and to me his struggle to overcome his prejudices was visible in every single sentence and line.

”It had started with a storm, and in a way, that storm had never ended. Nina had blown into his life with the wind and rain and set his world spinning. He’d been off balance ever since.”

Matthias pressed his forehead once, briefly, against Brum’s. He knew his mentor could not hear him, but he spoke the words anyway. “The life you live, the hate you feel – it’s poison. I can drink it no longer.”

Nina:

You’re heavier than it says on this paper, I’ll wager.”
She shrugged artfully, the scales of her neckline slipping lower. “I like to eat when I’m in the mood,” she said, puckering her lips shamelessly. “And I’m always in the mood.”

God that woman is so fierce and has the heart of a lion!!! Nina is so compassionate and lovely and I immediately loved her for it! She’s never afraid to say what she’s thinking and she’s loyal to a fault. I just adored her for being so passionate and I was so sad when Matthias rejected her at the beginning. Not that this would have had any visible impact on her, after all she still had a sharp tongue and made sure to use it. *lol* ;-P Judging by what I read about this world to be one of the Grisha isn’t easy, but Nina nevertheless always somehow managed to stand her ground!

“Do not bend,“ Nina snapped. „Do not leap. Do not move abruptly. If you don’t promise to take it easy, I’ll slow your heart and keep you in a coma until I can be sure you’ve recovered fully.“
„Nina Zenik, as soon as I figure out where you’ve put my knifes, we’re going to have words.“
„The first ones had better be ‚Thank you, oh great Nina, for dedicating every waking moment of this miserable journey to saving my sorry life‘.“

Jesper:

“Now it was risk filling up his nose and mouth, making him feel giddy and invincible. He loved it, and he hated himself for loving it.

He’s the cocky smartass of the group and his comments always made me laugh. I loved the way he tried to ease the tension and how he worked as a buffer between all those different characters. I’m pretty sure if the crew wouldn’t have had the sharpshooter they might have been at each other’s throats in an instant and I’m really thankful Bardugo added him to the crew. I didn’t expect him to be a Grisha though and when I found out I was genuinely surprised. I think one day his countless vices will get him in deep trouble and I really hope that we’ll get to know him even better in the next book.

”You guys are going to make this really fun, aren’t you?” asked Jesper. “Usually people don’t start hating each other until a week into the job, but you two have a head start.”
They cast him twin glares, and Jesper beamed back at them, but Kaz’s attention was focused on the plans.

Wylan:

”They hadn’t even left Ketterdam, and Wylan already seemed completely out of his depth. He wasn’t much younger than Kaz, but somehow looked like a child – smooth-skinned, wide-eyed, like a silk-eared puppy in a room full of fighting dogs.”

This boy was the cutest thing ever! He’s such an adorable and innocent cinnamon roll!!! I instantly fell in love with Wylan and I’m already afraid to find out more about his past. The relationship with his father was more than just tense and I’m convinced there happened something bad that caused him to move out of his father’s house. It broke my heart when I found out that he seems to be illiterate and that his mean idiot of a father mocked him with it. =( And *lol* for someone who’s as innocent as Wylan to keep up with the crew actually was a hell of an accomplishment! Let’s take a second and appreciate this awesome, clever, courageous and smart boy!!! =)))

”I’m good at demo.”
“You’re passable at demo. You’re excellent at hostage.”

We’re not going in through the embassy,” said Kaz. “Always hit where the mark isn’t looking.”
“Who’s Mark?” asked Wylan.

The ships:

Nina & Matthias:

”A good time needn’t involve wine and … and flesh,” Matthias sputtered.
Nina batted her glossy lashes at him. “You wouldn’t know a good time if it sidled up to you and stuck a lollipop in your mouth.

Those two gave me a serious headache!!! I knew they both loved each other but Matthias vehemently refused to acknowledge his feelings for Nina and it almost drove me insane! *lol* There were moments when I was tempted to throw the book against a wall and swore that I would hate Matthias forever, but then there were also those secret admissions to his true feelings and they kind of outweighed everything else. I have to admit that I also loved the way how Nina and Matthias pushed each other and them playing cat and mouse was just so much fun to hold it against them. XD But oh my god that scene at the end when Matthias took Nina’s hand? Gosh it made me cry and smile at the same time…

”And what did you do, Matthias? What did you do to me in your dreams?”
The ship listed gently. The laterns swayed. His eyes were blue fire. “Everything,” he said, as he turned to go. “Everything.”

He took her hand and kissed her knuckles genly. She winced, but when he tried to pull away, she clutched him tighter.
“Stay,” she panted. Tears leaked from her eyes. “Stay till the end.”
“And after,” he said. “And always.”
“I want to feel safe again. I want to go home to Ravka.”
“Then I’ll take you there. We’ll set fire to raisins or whatever you heathens do for fun.”
“Zealot,” she said weakly.
“Witch.”
“Barbarian.”
“Nina,” he whispered, “little red bird. Don’t go.”

Kaz & Inej:

”Keep talking, Wraith. Don’t slip away from me.”
“But it’s what I do best.”

They killed me! Their love was so bittersweet that it sometimes even caused me to stop breathing. Their emotions were so intense and gentle and yet their circumstances made it impossible to be together. I know everyone is blaming Kaz for holding back and turning Inej down but I can’t bring myself to be angry at him. Not after I saw his struggle and know what he’s been through. To touch other people is pure torture for him, yet he still let Inej reach out to him. It cost him so much just to stand there and let her caress his cheek, but he did it because he actually truly loves her!!! Gosh! Kaz and his fear to be touched killed me and the knowledge Inej didn’t understand his inner conflict actually shattered my heart! I can’t …. Argh I just can’t seem to be able to put into words how much this destroyed me!!! It put my heart through the meat grinder and shredded it into thousand tiny pieces…. It caused me to swallow, it made me gasp for air, it simply wrenched my breath away… It caused me to feel a pang in the center of my chest and my heart is still bleeding… Especially now that they took Inej!!!

”Kaz tumbled through the dark. He was colder than he’d ever been. He thought of Inej’s hand on his cheek. His mind had gone jagged at the sensation, a riot of confusion. It had been terror and disgust and – in all of that clamour – desire, a wish that lingered still, the hope that she would touch him again.”

”She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and got drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.”

”I can hear the change in Kaz’s breathing when he looks at you.”
“You … you can?”
“It catches every time, like he’s never seen you before.”

He took a deep breath. “I want you to stay. I want you to … I want you.”
“You want me.” She turned the words over. Gently, she squeezed his hand. “And how will you have me, Kaz?”
He looked at her then, eyes fierce, mouth set. It was the face he wore when he was fighting.
“How will you have me?” she repeated. “Fully clothed, gloves on, your head turned away so our lips can never touch?”
He released her hand, his shoulders bunching, his gaze angry and ashamed as he turned his face to the sea.
Maybe it was because his back was to her that she could finally speak the words. “I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

Jesper & Wylan:

”Close your eyes!”
“You can’t kiss me from down there, Wylan.”

I loved the slow development of their relationship. Jesper never missed a chance to tease Wylan and even though Wylan was so innocent and shy he still somehow managed to hit back at him! *lol* There were so many meaningful and short moments between those two boys and I really wanted to see that ship sail!!! Unfortunately their love story was just in the background and pretty one-sided because we never actually got a chance to read Wylan’s point of view! *lol* So yeah I hope there are some Wylan chapters in the next book and please, please, please let Wylan get back his beautiful and “stupid face”!! Haha I know it’s petty but Jesper wasn’t the only one that liked his face! *lol*

“Pull your shirt up over your mouth,” he told Wylan.
“What?”
“Stop being dense. You’re cuter when you’re smart.”
Wylan’s cheeks went pink. He scowled and pulled his collar up.

”If only you could talk to girls in equations.”
There was a long silence, and then, eyes trained on the notch they’d created in the link, Wylan said, “Just girls?”
Jesper restrained a grin.”No. Not just girls.”

All things considered this book was amazing and beautifully written! It’s a piece of art that kept me captivated from the beginning to the very end and I think throughout this journey I actually became a part of the crew!

So to all of my fellow Dregs, this is the way my review finally ends:

”No mourners, no funerals.” 😉 

Allgemein, P - T, S

Review: Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor)

29486766

Rating: 5 Pfoten

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,“ she pleaded. „Something beautiful and full of monsters.“
“Beautiful and full of monsters?“
“All the best stories are.”

This quote is basically a short summary of the entire book because “Strange the Dreamer” is indeed a story about something beautiful and full of monsters. Well, actually some might even say it’s a story about “beautiful monsters“ and you certainly would be more than just right to put it that way. 😉

Those beautiful monsters appear in all different kinds of shapes and forms and no matter how hard I would try, I’m convinced I still wouldn’t be able to express how much I loved to read this book. It was magical, it was moving, it was so very different than anything else I’ve ever read. Laini Taylor’s writing is like poetry and it drew me in and left me wanting for more. This world was so intriguing, it’s characters so flawed and mysterious and it’s power so raw. There was so much pain, mistrust, hate, despair and fear. But there was also hope, trust, the flutter of wings, dreams and love. Always love.
Desperate love, hopeless love, guilty love, unrequited love, motherly love, hopeful love, destructive love, young love, old love, dying love, love in every form.

I think I could go on and on with this one. *lol* Suffice it to say that it was wonderful to read, amazing to experience and heart-breaking to witness. Such a perfect book… such a compelling story. Well done, Laini. Well done! ❤

The Plot:

”There were two mysteries, actually: one old, one new. The old one opened his mind, but it was the new one that climbed inside, turned several circles, and settled in with a grunt – like a satisfied dragon in a cozy new lair. And there it would remain – the mystery, in his mind – exhaling enigma for years to come.”

This quote is everything you’ll get from me when it comes to the plot, because it’s so complex I couldn’t write a summary without giving away some major spoilers. 😉 All I can say is: Read the book. Just read it. I’m sure it will blow your mind. XD

The Characters:

And here it is, my infamous spoilery spoiler section. XD If you haven’t read the book yet and don’t want to be spoiled you should leave now. If you already read the book and want to hear my thoughts: Welcome to the lion’s den. *lol* Take a seat and a cookie. ;-P

Lazlo:

”The library knows its own mind,” old Master Hyrrokkin told him, leading him back up the secret stairs. “When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.”
Lazlo couldn’t have belonged to the library more truly if he were a book himself.

This boy is so sweet, innocent, amazing and pure. Seriously, I think he might be the purest soul I ever had the pleasure to read about. I love him, I just love him so much!! <33 Lazlo is one hell of a precious bean and all I wanted to do was to protect him from every possible threat and harm that might come his way. He needs to be protected at all costs!!! I mean he’s basically a unicorn and unicorns need to be happy and safe! I just loved how he always tried to see the good in people, how he gave them everything and didn’t even expect anything in return. He was so altruistic and generous it was so beautiful to watch. He never judged. He just listened to all the different sides and he accepted every opinion even if his own differed. In short: If the world would have more Lazlo Strange’s then it definitely would be a better place. =)) Which is the reason why I’m so damn worried about him right now. That ending!!! T_T I really hope he won’t lose his innocence…. Please Laini, let him be okay, don’t allow Minya to corrupt him and to turn him into something bad. *sobs*

”If the dream chose the dreamer, then his had chosen poorly. It needed someone far more daring than he. It needed the thunder and the avalanche, the war cry and the whirlwind. It needed fire.”

”Who had ever expended so much passion on a dream, only to stand helpless as it was granted to others? Others, moreover, who had expended no passion on it at all. His impossible dream had, against all probability, crossed deserts and mountains to come to Zosma and extend an unprecedented invitation.
But not to him.”

”He had loved the library, and had felt, as a boy, as though it had a kind of a sentience, and perhaps loved him back. But even if it was just walls and a roof with papers inside, it had bewitched him, and drawn him in, and given him everything he needed to become himself.”

Sarai:

I kiss dozens of people every night.” And she touched a spot just above the outer curve of one cinnamon eyebrow. “Right here. Men and women, babies and grandparents. I kiss them and they shudder.” Her voice was like ice, and so were her hearts. “I kiss them and they grieve.”

She was such a strong character! I loved that Sarai was so empathic and thought out of the box. After everything she went through she still stood by her convictions and refused to give herself to hatred and wrath. I think it’s admirable that she tried to understand the citizens of Weep and dared to hope that peace was possible. I mean she knew that both sides did awful things, but she was also aware that it were mistakes and atrocities other people had done. She was nothing but a baby when the gods fell and even though Minya kind of bullied her into hurting the people of Weep she still knew that her actions were wrong. She wanted to stop the destructive cycle of hate, mistrust, prejudices and fear and I’m sure if the ending wouldn’t have happened Lazlo and her might have even had a realistic chance to succeed. *sighs* Gosh, I hate that ending! Did I already mention that I hate that ending? >_<

”Sarai wasn’t going to kill anyone. She was stubborn, very, and she wasn’t about to surrender her decency or mercy for a sound day’s sleep. She wouldn’t beg Minya for lull. Whatever happened she would never again serve Minya’s twisted will.”

”Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.” She paused. Her voice grew heavy. “When they slaughter thirty babies in their cradles, they call it necessary.”

Eril-Fane:

”Even after all these years, the thought of Isagol the Terrible stirred such a storm in him – of rancor and longing, desire and disgust, violence and even affection – all of it seething and bleeding and writhing, like a pit of rats eating one another alive. That was what his feelings were now, what Isagol had made of them. Nothing good or pure could survive in him. All was corruption and gore, suffocating in his self-loathing. How weak he was, how pitiful. He might have killed the goddess in the end, but he wasn’t free of her, and he never would be.”

Ohh Eril-Fane, the guy with one of the coolest nicknames in all history. Godslayer. Sounds awesome! Has a certain ring to it, right? If you consider what had to happen to get that nickname it’s not that cool anymore though. Well, actually it loses all its glory. Boy, was he a tormented and tortured soul. I loved it! *lol* Yeah, I know you might roll your eyes now and say: Gin, why do you always love those flawed characters and villains? The answer is simple. They are complex, they are interesting, and they intrigue me. Immensely I might add. ;-P So back to Eril-Fane. What a fascinating personality. Devoured by rancor and love, torn between duty and self-hatred, eroded by years of shame and despondency, eaten by guilt and longing. Ahh, what’s not to love? *lol* He’s everything I want in a character and Laini Taylor wrote him so well! I just want more of him and I can’t wait for book two!!

”Eril-Fane had his own arsenal of horrors; he hardly needed hers. Fear was the last of it. Sarai hadn’t understood before that fear could be the lesser torment. It was shame that tore him apart. It was despair. There was no darkness she could send him to rival what he’d endured already. He had lived three years with Isagol the Terrible. He had survived too much to be driven mad by dreams.”

”He loved her so much,” she whispered. “It was all a lie. It was a violation. But it didn’t matter, did it, because when Isagol made you feel something, it became real. He hated her. And he loved her. And he killed her.”

”He looked him right in the eyes and saw a man who was great and good and human, who had done extraordinary things and terrible things and been broken and reassembled as a shell, only then to do the bravest thing of all: He had kept on living, though there are easier paths to take.”

Minya:

”They were all I could carry. They were all I could carry.”
There was no echo, no reverberation. If anything, the room ate sound. It swallowed her voice, her words, and her eternal, inadequate apology. But not her memories. She would never be rid of those.”

I FREAKING HATE MINYA!!! There, I said it, it’s out now! I understand why she is so angry at the people of Weep and I can see why she’s craving for revenge but I do NOT understand why she has to use other people in order to get what she wants. To turn on Sarai and Lazlo? That’s where I draw the line. No matter how much I’m sorry for what she experienced and how much it hurt and shaped her; I still can’t forgive her what she did in the end!! I mean Sarai is her family, she doesn’t know Lazlo, okay, but Sarai?! She raised her!!! She rescued her and took care of her over those years. She’s basically like a mother figure even though she’s barely a few years older and still looks like a child. Minya is so wrathful and embittered that she sees nothing but hatred and vengeance and even though I know that she’s pulling the strings right now, I still hope that Lazlo and Sarai won’t end up being her puppets. =(( URGH I just dislike her so much! T_T

The ships:

Sarai & Lazlo:

”There was no one behind her. There was no one else at all. The whole dream shrank to a sphere around the pair of them, and there could be no question that the witchlight was for her, or that it was her he meant when he whispered, with vivid and tender enthrallment, “Who are you?”

Those two were so damn cute together!!! GAH! I can’t even. From the very first moment they met up until to their dream dates they were just perfection! I loved how hard they fell for each other and yes, I know that was kinda insta-lovey but it was executed so damn well. I mean sometimes this just happens. You meet someone and you fall head over heels. You don’t question if it’s too fast, you don’t think about the future, you just live in the moment and breathe every second you’re in that persons proximity. They give you life, they make you happy, they cause you to wear a permanent grin on your face. And BOY did Laini Taylor do a good job at conveying that feeling! It felt like I was with them, falling in love too. ❤ BUT that damn ending!!! ARGH!!! I hate Minya for being so cruel, I hate that the citadel lost balance… I just hate everything that happened in those last few chapters. T_T I want them to be happy but I don’t see how this can work out good… I mean Sarai is basically Minya’s hostage now and Lazlo loves her so much. The next book is going to hurt. This just broke my heart… >_< *sobs*

”I think you are a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And … “ His voice grew bashful. Only in a dream could he be so bold and speak such words. “I hope you’ll let me be in your story.”

”Lazlo did hold Sarai in his arms that night, and she was real and flesh, blood and spirit, but not laughter. Not breath. Those had left her body forever.
The Muse of Nightmares was dead.”

Azareen & Eril-Fane:

”She curved herself against his back, laid her face to the side of his neck, and wept the tears that he could not. Eril-Fane shuddered as her tears seared his skin, and something inside him gave way. He pulled her arms tight against his chest and crushed his face into her hands. And then, and there, for everything lost and everything stolen, both from him and by him in all these long years, the Godslayer started to sob.”

I really wish those two would have gotten a chance to be happy, but as it seems the scars of their pasts ruined everything they could have been. Poor Azareen! To love her husband, to see his torture but to be unable to help him, to be incapable of saving him from the darkness that’s clutching at his tormented soul. It hurt to read about them and it hurt to see them so broken. No one in this story was truly bad; they all were just a product of the gods and what they did to them, so yeah. I felt sorry for Azareen and Eril-Fane, but that quote above gives me hope. Maybe they’ll manage to find each other in the next book? =) There’s always hope, right?

Conclusion:

I loved this book!!! “Strange the Dreamer” was a wonderful and surprisingly awesome read and I can’t wait until “The Muse of Nightmares” is released! I need to know how it continues and what is going to happen next!!! I just need to know! XD

So until the book is finally hitting the stores I’ll just try to hold on to this quote:

”And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.”

Also a big thanks to The Awesome Rusty!!! It was amazing to buddy read with you and I hope we’ll do this again! *lol* This truly was a buddy read match made in heaven because for some reason we always managed to be on the same page. Haha! I don’t know how we did this, but we must have some sort of superpower that linked us together and caused us to sync whenever it was needed. XD
Well, however we did it, it was certainly one of the most comfortable buddy reads I ever had the pleasure to experience. Rusty, you rock! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, S

Review: Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo)

16059492

Rating: 4 Pfoten

”I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina,” he said. “You and I are going to change the world.”

Leigh’s cooking receipt for “Shadow and Bone”:

1 naïve and rather plain looking heroine
1 handsome childhood friend
1 dark, mysterious and irresistible villain
1 close friend that’s kind of an outsider as well
A pinch of magic
A hint of insecurity
A handful of unexpected events
And half a teaspoon of scheming and betrayal

To get the full effect you have to mix up all the ingredients and let the dough rise for at least half an hour. Well and then you just mix it all again! *lol*

Et voila! Now you have a book with all the typical young adult tropes that somehow managed to take a different kind of turn than you initially expected. ;-P
I swear some of the things Leigh wrote were even a surprise for such a long-established Young Adult fan like myself. Haha! She’s a clever woman, I have to give her that! XD

The characters:

The Darkling is known for his swoon-worthy Darkness, I’m known for my spoilery characters section! Guess we all have our talents. ;-P Anyway, if you don’t want to read any spoilers you better click that nice exit button now. ;-P Otherwise you’ll enter the Fold and no matter if you’ve read the book or not, it’s usually a place of no return. XD

Alina:

”I guess you only look like a mouse,” he whispered in my ear, and then beckoned to one of his personal guard.”

I liked Alina, but she didn’t sweep me off my feet. I mean she’s basically your typical Young Adult heroine: orphan, plain looking, stubborn, kind, powerful and very, very naïve. *lol* So yeah, she was as likable as they come, but I didn’t really have hearty-eyes when I read about her. I’m pretty sure she’s going to be on guard after the events of book one and I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen in the next book. There are definitely a lot of possibilities and I’m looking forward to read about her character development. Because , yes, there will be a lot of character development ahead of her and I hope it’s going to make her interesting. I mean, no YA heroine ever started out with a fully developed character so I guess we’ll have to see what Leigh has in store for us! 😉

The Darkling:

”He had a sharp, beautiful face, a shock of thick black hair, and clear gray eyes that glimmered like quartz.”

I finally met the infamous Darkling!!! YESH!!! *runs around hyper* And he’s as amazing as I thought he’d be!!! I love this dark, mysterious, broody, intriguing and sexy guy! XD And I sooo wasn’t surprised that he’s the villain. I mean come on, Alina!!! He’s named “The Darkling” for a reason!!! I can’t believe she was so naïve. *lol* Well anyway, where were we? Yes, the Darkling! XD I love him to bits and pieces. He’s everything I need a villain to be: cruel, cunning, calculating, ambitious, ruthless and misguided. XD Not to mention so swoon-worthy that I had a hard time to concentrate whenever I read one of his scenes. *lol* So yeah, I’m a fan of the Darkling now and I’m not ashamed!!! <333 Can’t wait to find out what he’s going to do in the next two books! =))

”I’m not used to people trying to kill me.”
“Really? I hardly notice anymore.”

”I hope you don’t expect fairness from me, Alina. It isn’t one of my specialities.”

”He sounded so sincere, so reasonable, less a creature of relentless ambition than a man who believed he was doing the right thing for his people. Despite all he’d done and all he intended, I did almost believe him. Almost.”

Mal:

”I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely. He was very close now, and my heart was suddenly hammering in my chest. “I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.”

I don’t get why so many people hate Mal. I mean he’s actually kinda cute! I didn’t like Kilorn in “Red Queen” and I usually tend to dislike the “handsome childhood friends” in YA books but I really ended up liking Mal. He’s nice and caring and he’s a loyal friend of Alina. Plus he’s not as annoying as they usually are! Mal was a nice counterweight to Alina, he always thought ahead was reasonable, knew his limits and seemed to be a rather laid-back guy. So why all the hate?! Is he doing something bad in the next two books?! I don’t understand all the annoyed updates I read about him, because I think he’s a decent love interest and I really like him. XD

Genya:

”You should be used to being gawked at by now.”
“And yet I’m not.”
“Well, if it gets too bad, give me a signal, and I’ll get up on the banquet table, toss my skirt over my head, and do a little dance. That way no one will be looking at you.”

Aww I loved Genya so damn much!! <333 She’s such an amazing woman and I really hope that she’ll end up on Alina’s side in the next book. I know why she had to support the Darkling and why she didn’t dare to act against his wishes and I feel really sorry for her. I wish there would have been more scenes with my precious girl but since she was only a side character in the first book her appearances were rather limited. Still, she swept me off my feet and I hope to see her again! There’s still so much I don’t know about her and I really want to meet her again! Hopefully under better circumstances this second time around. =)

Nikolai:

”What about the other one?” I asked I knew the King and Queen had a younger son, but I’d never actually seen him.
“Sobachka?”
“You can’t call a royal prince ‘puppy,’ “ I laughed.

Soo, can anyone explain why Nikolai is called “Sobachka”? *lol* I thought I’d get to know him in this book but all I got were a few little hints that only made me even more curious. Guess he’s going to make his entrance in the next book?! I’m soo damn curious you have no idea!!! XD

Baghra:

”It isn’t an animal that shies away from you or chooses whether or not to come when you call it. Do you ask your heart to beat or your lungs to breathe? Your power serves you because that is its purpose, because it cannot help but serve you.”

Ohh Baghra certainly was an interesting character. For one thing she wasn’t just Alina’s cruel and relentless instructor but also the Darkling’s mother! Yes, you read right! His freaking mother!!! *LOL* Leigh, you did something amazing there!!! I mean how many YA and fantasy books did I read?! Too many to count, but the villain never ever had a mom! XD Well, in this trilogy he has one and she’s not happy with her son! Haha! I just loved this!!! Thank you Leigh, this was truly amazing! <333

The Ships:

Alina & The Darkling:

”The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”

They had some sizzling chemistry that’s for sure!! I loved it when the Darkling did his best to seduce Alina and in all honesty I definitely wouldn’t have been as restrained as her. *lol* I really don’t know how she even managed to contain herself. I got weak knees just reading about him and I admire Alina for not throwing herself at him. Haha! I doubt I’d have had that strength. I guess their ship sunk and ended up being shipwrecked in the end though. Pity, I certainly would have loved to read more of those intense and hot scenes. ;-P

”So you do make mistakes,” I said without thinking.
He paused in the act of pulling on his gloves, and I pressed my lips together nervously. “I didn’t mean –“
“Of course I make mistakes,” he said. His mouth curved into a half smile. “Just not often.”

Alina & Mal:

”Look at me.” I willed myself to raise my eyes to his. “I know you’re scared. I am, too. But we’re going to do this, and we’re going to be fine. We always are. Okay?”

I loved their strong friendship and I lived for their easy banter. They knew each other inside out and it was refreshing to see that the “handsome childhood bestie” trope worked out nicely for once. In all the other YA books the childhood friend always ends up being scorned, not in this one! Leigh actually managed to pull it off to give them a good and solid basis for a strong relationship. =) Which is a first! I never read a YA book in which the best friend actually ended up being the main love interest. So, Queen Leigh, you have all my respect!! *bows* I’m not sure if it will stay that way and if they’ll still be together at the end of the last book, but I have hope for them and this is more than I had for other YA bestie couples. XD

He swallowed, and I could see him struggle with the knowledge, but all he said was, “All right.”
I let out a sound that was half laugh, half sob. “Only you could contemplate imminent death and just say ‘all right.’ “
He smiled at me and pushed the hair back from my tear-stained face. “How about ‘oh no’?”

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed “Shadow and Bone” and I was so curious how it would continue that I already started with the second book. I usually don’t start with the next book until I wrote a proper review for the first one so that should tell you enough about how desperately I wanted to read on. *lol*

So yeah, if you’re a sucker for YA tropes and want to see how they can be written in unexpected ways, I highly recommend you to read this book! You won’t be disappointed! Queen Leigh knows her stuff! ;-P