Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Ruin and Rising (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”They will starve for you, lay down their lives and their children’s lives for you. They will make war without fear and die rejoicing. There is no greater power than faith, and there will be no greater army than one driven by it.”

Three books and I still hate the Apparat! *lol* Guess that says enough about him and his despicable character. XD Despite everything he unfortunately has a point though. Now that Alina has become Sankta Alina for so many people they think that she’s the answer to all their prayers and hopes and to say this is quite a burden for a girl that considers herself to be ordinary isn’t even getting close to the truth. There’s a lot of pressure on our young heroine and even though she’s coping with it way better than she did in the past, this still doesn’t mean that she’s ready to do what is necessary.

Mainly to destroy the fold and to dethrone the Darkling. To be entirely honest I can’t even blame her for it. The Darkling and her have some special connection and no matter how misguided he’s become, our favourite villain still has a good heart. It’s hidden more than just well in this final and last instalment but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t there. *sighs deeply*

Also, am I crazy for still loving all those boys? *lol* Because no matter how much I think about it, I still like Mal, I still adore Nikolai and I still want more of the Darkling. XD And this after reading all three books! ARGH! Leigh why do you have to write such good characters? *lol* It’s just not fair! Well, anyway I’ll head to my characters section now because there is a lot I need to get off my chest and I don’t want to spoil you already! ;-P

2

”None of them were easy or soft or simple. They were like me, nursing hurts and hidden wounds, all broken in different ways. We didn’t quite fit together. We had edges so jagged we cut each other sometimes, but as I curled up on my side, the warmth of the fire at my back, I felt a rush of gratitude so sweet it made my throat ache.”

You are entering the Fold! If you don’t want to be spoiled or eaten by the volcra (which truth be told might be pretty likely) you better leave now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! You’re entering at your own risk! *volcra howls in the distance* ;-P

Alina:

”You are on your knees,” I said. “We are not negotiating.”
His lips thinned, but after a moment, he dipped his chin in assent.

Okay, I admit it. Alina was pretty cool in this book! *lol* I loved how she decided to take her fate into her own hands and no longer aimed for compromises. It was all or nothing for her and I really, really liked this! For once she was no longer a chess piece in the game but turned into one of the leaders instead. AND I enjoyed it! XD It was about time she got her own voice and I’m glad she finally realized that it’s up to her to change things. Plus, if we’re entirely honest to run away never really worked out for her anyway! The Darkling would have never left her alone and it was about time she fought back. 😉

”Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay.”

”This was what Ravka did. It made orphans. It made misery. No land, no life, just a uniform and a gun. Nikolai had believed in something better.”

Mal:

”For all my talk of vows and honor, what I really want is to put you up against that wall and kiss you until you forget you ever knew another man’s name. So tell me to go, Alina. Because I can’t give you a title or an army or any of the things you need.”

Three books and I still don’t get all the Mal hate!!! I mean seriously, why do so many people hate him so much? I think he’s a really nice and down-to-earth guy and I could understand each and every single one of his actions. Yes he turned Alina away; he only did it because he knew she needed more than just a soldier who had nothing to offer though. In my opinion he was only realistic and let’s face it, if Alina wouldn’t have lost all her powers in the end she would have never been happy and content in a relationship with him. AND Mal was ready to sacrifice himself in order to save their world so I really, really don’t get why anyone wouldn’t like him!? I never had the feeling that he’s annoying, quite the contrary so yeah: #IStillLikeMalAndI’mNotSorry

Nikolai:

”Saints, Alina. I hope you weren’t looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”

OMG!!! If that is even possible I actually loved him even more than I loved him in book 2! Nikolai is the BEST and he deserves the world and so much more!!! <333 I just admire and adore him and I really don’t get how Alina was able to resist his charms! I would have accepted his proposal in a heartbeat! *lol* But then again I’m not Alina who is obviously besotted with Mal. XD It made me kind of sad that we didn’t get all too much of him in this final book, but I see the logic behind it. AND I’ll never forgive the Darkling for what he did to my precious baby!!! I didn’t expect him to turn him into a monster and when it happened I was gripping my book so hard and yelling at the pages that I was very thankful I read it at home. *lol* (Just imagine I would have read it in the train… XD) I can’t wait to hold “King of Scars” in my greedy and grabby hands and I NEED to know what happens next! >_<

”Nikolai had made a fool of the Darkling, and now the Darkling had taken my polished, brilliant, noble prince and made him into a monster. Death would have been too kind.”

”He’d mobilized all the remaining units of the army to secure the borders, sent messages to the coast to rally Sturmhond’s fleet, and had apparently managed it all on no sleep and two fractured ribs. No one else would have had the ability, let alone the nerve – certainly not a younger son and rumoured bastard. But Nikolai had been training for this his entire life, and I knew he had a gift for the impossible.”

The Darkling:

”I have lived a long life, rich in grief. My tears are long since spent. If I still felt as you do, if I ached as you do, I could not have borne this eternity.”

I might never forgive him for what he did to Nikolai but I still love him?! *lol* The Darkling is just one of those amazing villains I love to hate and despite everything he’s done there is still something good in him. His power and age made him ruthless and caused him to be detached from the world around him, but deep down in his heart he isn’t really bad. I guess you might say he is doing the wrong things for the right reasons. All he ever wanted was a united Ravka in which Grisha could live peacefully and together as one and for a while he even managed to give his country some sort of stability. He had a wonderful dream but he never realized that he became the one thing that stood in its way. The Darkling was a very complex villain and I’m so glad I read this series because villains like that are so rare to find. XD For that alone I’ll always cherish him. But that moment when he asked Alina to say his true name!? T_T I am deceased!

”Once more,” he said. “Speak my name once more.”
He was ancient, I knew that. But in this moment he was just a boy – brilliant, blessed with too much power, burdened by eternity.
“Aleksander.”

Genya:

”Na razrusha’ya. E’ya razrushost.” I am not ruined. I am ruination.

Boy, did I adore Genya for her guts!! <333 She stood up for herself and faced the king head-on and she didn’t just give him a piece of her mind but also accepted the consequences the truth might entail! THAT WAS SO DAMN BRAVE for so many different reasons!! I always knew why Genya is my Queen! XD I love that despite her scars she’s comfortable in her own skin and I’m so happy that she finally got the love she deserves! <33 After everything she went through she deserves a man who treats her right and David seems to be the perfect man to give her everything she needs! 😉

”Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what’s inside you? That’s steel. It’s brave and unbreakable. And it doesn’t need fixing.” He drew in a deep breath then awkwardly stepped forward. He took her face in his hands and kissed her.

3

Alina & Mal:

”We’re going to be travelling together for who knows how long. Eventually, you’re going to have to talk to me.”
“I’m talking to you right now.”
“See? Is this so terrible?”
“It wouldn’t be,” he said, gazing at me steadily, “if all I wanted to do was talk.”

I know at least 50% of the people who read this series will be all like “NOOOO!!!” now but: I SHIP IT!!! Yes, you read right! I’m happy with the ending and them being together! I mean Leigh made it pretty clear that Mal is Alina’s one true love and I’m so on board of the “The childhood friend gets the girl” train! *lol* Because this NEVER EVER happens in YA!!! And I’m grateful Leigh actually made it happen for once! XD It might sound ridiculous but this is something new and I’m always there for new things in a genre I already know so well. Plus Mal and Alina had a great chemistry and I loved that they were always able to joke about their situation. They knew each other inside out and for me it was logical that they could be together! I mean it’s basically like in real life. I know so many couples that started out as friends (some even best friends) and then became a couple because they realized they love each other. So there’s that! I ship it and I’m content with the ending! Enough said! ;-P

”All at once, the pain in my chest was so bad it nearly bent me double. Because this was what Mal had been coming to show me. Because that look – that open, eager, happy look – had been for me. Because I would always be the first person he turned to when he saw something lovely, and I would do the same. Whether I was a Saint or a queen or the most powerful Grisha who ever lived, I would always turn to him.”

”He watches her the way Harshaw watches fire. Like he’ll never have enough of her. Like he’s trying to capture what he can before she’s gone.”

”I wanted more for you,” he said. “A white veil in your hair. Vows we could keep.”
“A proper wedding night? Just tell me this isn’t goodbye. That’s the only vow I need.”

”They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things – if love can ever be called that.”

Alina & Nikolai:

”First vomit, then tears,” Nikolai said, coming up beside me. “Don’t tell me I’ve lost my touch.”
“I’m just happy you’re alive,” I said, hastily blinking my eyes clear. “Though I’m sure you can talk me out of it.”

Their friendship was so amazing!!! I always knew they wouldn’t end up together but I loved that they developed such a great friendship in the end. They are proof that a friendship between a man and a woman can work just fine and their easy banter was so entertaining to read. If they would have married it would have merely been an alliance though and they both deserved better than that. I’m glad Alina can be with Mal now because I know Nikolai’s story isn’t over yet and I’m sooo curious to find out who’s going to be his love interest. XD A lot of people think it might be Zoya but I never saw chemistry between those two so there would have to be a lot of build-up in order to make that happen. Maybe Nikolai will even have a coming-out as being bi?! (I swear it could be possible!) Well, that certainly would be something I’d love to read. *lol* Whatever happens and no matter if it will turn out to be a straight romance or a gay one, I’m so ready for “King of Scars”!!! <333

”I owe you, Alina. Ravka owes you. This and more. Do good works or commission an opera house or just take it out and gaze at it longingly when you think of the handsome prince you might have made your own. For the record I favour the latter option, preferably paired with copious tears and the recitation of bad poetry.”
I laughed.
He took my hand and pressed the ring into it. “Take it and build something new.”

Alina & The Darkling:

”If only I’d known you’d prove such an apt pupil.” His voice was genuinely admiring, almost surprised.

Ohhh I lived and breathed for their scenes! Their cat and mouse game was just too intriguing to read! They gave each other a run for their money and none of them yielded an inch! *lol* ARGH! Their relationship was so twisted and dark but damn was it awesome to witness! XD I think in a perverted way they both loved each other, but it just wasn’t enough to save the Darkling. It broke my heart that he had to die but the way Leigh wrote it I was okay with it. (Not like in “War Storm” when I was so damn disappointed about how it all ended …) The Darkling died with dignity and he died being loved by his opponent… It was a coherent ending and it was the ending he deserved. ❤

”It’s true,” I said softly. “You are stronger, wiser, infinite in experience.” I leaned forward and whispered, my lips brushing the shell of his ear. “But I am an apt pupil.”
His eyes flew open. I caught the briefest glimpse of rage in his gray gaze before I severed the connection.

”There will be nothing left,” I whispered.
“No,” he said gently as he folded me in his arms. He pressed a kiss to the top of my hair. “I will strip away all that you know, all that you love, until you have no shelter but me.”

4

“Ruin and Rising” was a good and solid ending for a rather unconventional YA series! It kept me entertained and always caused me to wish for more. By the end of this book I got really attached to some of the characters and considering how many YA books I already read, that’s certainly no easy feat. 😉 So if you’re looking for a typical YA series that’s still able to surprise you every once in a while, “The Grisha Trilogy” is what you’re looking for. XD Happy Reading!

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”

The more I thought about this book, the more I realized that “Wonder Woman” is one of those books you could easily transform into a movie. There were just so many scenes I could picture in a movie and even though this made my entire reading experience very vivid and highly entertaining, it unfortunately also meant that a little bit of my enjoyment went missing.

“Why is that?” you might ask and I’ll try to give you a proper answer. When I read a book I want my own fantasy to kick in and I don’t only want to imagine those moments but I also want to be surprised. So if I can picture them so easily this ultimately means that I already have a similar scene in my mind and this is never good. *lol*

Don’t get me wrong! I really loved this and it was a lot of fun, the “movie factor” was just too strong for my taste though. XD Especially because I recently saw the movie with Gal Gadot and always thought, I really would have loved to see this book as the movie instead of the actual movie. *lol* Because let’s face it: Leigh’s script was way better than the run of the mill Hollywood screenplay.
Yes, you read right and I stand by it. ;-P Leigh Bardugo is queen and even one of my four star reviews won’t change that. *lol*

On a more personal note: I started this book as a buddy read with my online bestie but about 10% into the book he dropped out of our BR and I had to finish it on my own. It’s sad we couldn’t read the book together but I understand his reasons so yeah, there’s that. >_<

And now onwards to one of my more lengthy reviews. 😉

2

Here’s your turning point! Either you move on and leave the safety of Themyscira (what a difficult word!!) or you decide to stay on the island and miss the opportunity to be spoiled! It’s up to you, choose wisely my young warrior! ;-P

Alia:

”Warbringer. Procatalysia. Haptandra. They could call it whatever they wanted. It sounded a lot like monster.”

Alia… Mhmm what to say about her? I think in this story she kind of represented the typical heroine. I mean she didn’t want to be a Warbringer and she would have rather preferred to die than to be the reason for the 3rd world war. So her character definitely went along with the characteristical attributes of a martyr and she had that sacrificial victim vibe down to a T. *lol* Unfortunately this also meant that we barely got to know her as a person. I mean yes, we get that she was a brainiac and a shy outsider but that’s about it. Which is very sad, because I really would have liked to see all of her different facets and for an MC this just wasn’t enough for me. >_<

Diana:

”We cannot spend our lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves.”

Come to think of it the same could be said for Diana. She’s one of those super strong and righteous characters that throw around life lessons and quotes like nobody’s business! Haha! I’m not gonna lie, I kinda liked that about her, but it also made her a pretty innocent and bland character to read about. There were no rough edges and I was somehow reminded of Alina in “Shadow and Bone”. I can’t shake the feeling that Diana would have turned out to be a really great character if she would have been given a chance to thrive in a sequel. *lol* As far as I know there doesn’t exist a second book though, so I suppose I’ll just have to accept the fact that her character won’t be fleshed out and that this is everything we’ll ever get. XD *sniff* There would have been so much potential…

”We can’t help the way we’re born. We can’t help what we are, only what life we choose to make for ourselves.”

Nim:

”For all my big talk, I’ve never brought a girl home. I’ve never even hinted at that stuff to my parents. I’m afraid if I do, it will all fall apart.”

Boy, could I relate to Nim!!! I loved this girl so much and considering that she was just a side character, she and Theo actually saved the book for me. It’s kind of interesting how the side characters got a chance to shine in “Wonder Woman” and how I ended up thinking that the MCs were nothing special. *lol* But here it is and I accept it. XD Whilst I missed the depth in Diana’s and Alia’s character I got plenty of that with Nim. 😉 She was an amazing sidekick and her comments were priceless! XD You might call it the “Nikolai Lantsov” effect and Nim as well as Theo had plenty of it. *lol*I loved how fierce and independent Nim was and even though she stood on her own feet and was able to defend herself she still had a vulnerable and insecure side that was revealed throughout the course of the book. I really would have loved to read even more about her but unfortunately my wish wasn’t granted, which made me very sad because the world needs more Nim’s for sure! T_T

”What’s a supermodel?” Diana asked.
Nim stared at her.
“Uh, Diana’s homeschooled,” said Alia.
“Under a rock?” asked Nim.

”Because the whole world loves to tell us what we can’t do, that we aren’t good enough. The people in your own house should be on your side. It’s the people who never learn the word impossible who make history, because they’re the ones who keep trying.”

”Maybe it feels easier that way, just being invisible instead of always worrying what people think of you.”
Nim’s voice was surprisingly emphatic. “But that’s a choice, too, right? Because people are always going to look. They’re always going to judge, so you can say nothing or you can at least answer back.”

Jason:

”Is that stupid?” he asked. It was the first time she’d seen him look anything less than sure of himself. “To want a chance at greatness?”

Urgh! Jason! You can bet your lovely behind on the fact that I knew he was one of the bad guys the very moment he opened his mouth for the first time. *lol* I wasn’t fooled by him… not even for a second. XD He made a very bad villain though because his motives were really stupid. I mean yes, he wanted to get a chance to shine. So what? You’re going to risk your life in a war that will drag the entire world into mayhem just to get a shot at greatness? Who’s going to remember you when the entire world is descending into chaos? I think there are enough wars already and humanity is doing a great job at killing itself without the additional help of a Warbringer. At some point of the book Alia and Diana tried to tell him too, but of course he didn’t listen. XD Well, in the end he got what he deserved and even though the way it was executed made my eyes roll and sort of reminded me of the ending of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (except of the getting old and crumbling to dust part) it was still kind of fitting for him. *lol*

”Humans can’t hold to peace, Diana,” Jason said. His gaze was steady, certain, and in his words she heard the echo of her mother’s voice. “We’re brutes and have been since our beginning. If we can’t have peace, then at least give us a chance at a beautiful death.”

Theo:

”You mean we’re all going to join hands and sing folk songs?”
“That sounds unpleasant,” said Diana.
“Come on!” said Theo. “Peace, love, the Age of Asparagus.”
“Aquarius,” corrected Nim.

*LOL* Theo, this brilliant little piece of sh**! Haha! I can’t say how much I adored him. Yes, he was a nerd but he was a sexy nerd and I could totally understand that Alia had the hots for him. XD I completely fell in love with him and his pointy shoes as well. *lol* ;-P He provided the easy banter and the funny moments of this story and I can’t understand why Jason wanted to kill him! I mean he was his best friend, he stood by him and even though everyone suspected him of being the villain he took it in stride and proved them wrong! He could have been offended by them suspecting him but instead he tried to understand them and overcame his hurt. =) Plus even though he might have been a skinny son of a gun he had his heart at the right place and managed to be cool when you least expected it. 😉 So yes, I’m a Theo fan now! XD

”Diana,” said Nim. “Kick Jason’s ass.”
She frowned, confused. “Specifically his ass?”
“Yeah.”
“Why?”
Without looking up from the keys, Theo said, “New York tradition.”

3

Alia & Diana:

”You are being hunted.”
“Hunted,” Alia said flatly. “For my silky pelt?”
“Because you are haptandra.”
“Say again?”
“A Warbringer.”
“I’m not into gaming.”

Haha! The dialogues between those two! ❤ They sure as hell made an interesting team, yet they still worked out somehow. *lol* I really liked their strong bond and friendship and I wish they would have gotten a chance to spend more time with each other. After everything that happened the ending felt rather rushed and when I closed the final page of the book I couldn’t help but wish for a little bit more time with those two. I didn’t like that Diana had to go back to her island immediately and to me it felt like they didn’t get a decent chance at closure. I mean Diana would have deserved to be with them, even if it would have been for just a little while. >_<

Alia & Theo:

”I drove,” said Theo. “Once.”
“That was a golf cart,” said Alia.
“So? It had four wheels and went vroom.”
“You crashed it into a tree.”
“I’ll have you know that tree had been drinking.”

Ahhh I loved how well they knew each other and yet they still never went for a romance. *lol* I guess they both might have waited for the right time and as it seems it finally arrived. Thank the gods! Because those two fit together perfectly! XD I knew they’d be awesome the moment Theo was introduced and I longed to read about their first kiss! Which didn’t happen!!! Like OMG!!! WHY LEIGH??!!!! A little kiss never hurt nobody! >_< Guess I’ll just have to picture their happily ever after in my mind. *sighs*

”The night of the party at the Met, how come you complimented everyone but me?”
He grinned. “Because you in that gold dress turned my brain to mush.”
She rolled her eyes. “Right.”
He took a couple of steps, then paused. “Alia?” he called back.
“What, Theo?”
“That night, at the party? You looked like buried treasure.”

Diana & Jason:

”You’re pretty enough, Jason Keralis. But hardly intimidating.”
His eyelids stuttered. “Pretty?”

Pff, I didn’t get to witness my Aleo ship but unfortunately I had to watch the shipwreck of Dison! *lol* This relationship was doomed right from the beginning because I didn’t feel any chemistry between those two! They danced, they laughed, hell, they even spent a night together yet they didn’t even evoke a shred of emotion in me. >_< I guess their impeccable behaviour made it kind of hard to enjoy their relationship. They were both too bland to make a decent couple and I could only roll my eyes whenever they were supposed to have a romantic moment. *sighs deeply* Nope, those two just didn’t work for me. #SorryNotSorry

”I think you’ve grown too used to people saying yes to you.”
“Have I?”
“But you have no idea how much I enjoy saying no.”

Nim & Theo:

”Nim, you look like a delicious confection, a walking, talking – probably poisonous – petit four.”
“In that case,” said Nim, “bite me.”

Now that’s what I call a perfect frenemy relationship. Haha! I wonder if it was just Alia’s Warbringer influence or if they kept up their banter after the happenings at the spring. *lol* I like to believe that they started to like each other and developed some sort of love-hate sibling friendship over the years. XD In the book they were like cat and mouse and their entertainment effect was very high. If it would have been up to me there would have been even more crazy conversations between them but I guess it was perfect the way Leigh decided to handle it. 😉

”We’re the villains! It’s always cooler to be the villain. You get to wear black and have a lair and brood. Besides, girls can’t resist a bad boy.”
“You are such an idiot,” said Nim.
He tapped his temple. “It’s not my fault you lack the vision.”

4

“Wonder Woman – Warbringer” was a highly entertaining book that reminded me a lot of all those modern blockbusters you can watch at the movies. There was plenty of easy banter and a great and diverse cast of MCs and side-characters alike. I loved that a lot of myths and legends weren’t only mentioned but also woven into the story and if there was one thing I didn’t like, then it was the fact that the MCs didn’t really convince me. In my opinion the side characters were more intriguing than the MCs and this in combination with the rather abrupt ending ultimately caused me to rate this book with only four paws. If you’re looking for an easy and funny read this definitely should be able to satisfy your hunger though. 😉

 

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Siege and Storm (Leigh Bardugo)

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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! 😉

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

 

LEIGH BARDUGO IS A RELENTLESS DEMJIN!!!

This was my first thought when I finished to read “Crooked Kingdom” and after thinking about it, I decided to leave it at that! It’s true! This amazing woman gave me all the feels and played me like a fiddle! There were so many twists and turns that my head actually started to spin and whenever I thought something would be alright, everything, literally everything changed once again!

How did you do this Leigh?
How can you be such a talented manipulator?
And why? Please tell me WHY!!??, did you have to rip my heart out?!

I’m shattered and broken, I can’t stop to think about your book! And I can’t stop to cry whenever I think about it!!! You destroyed me!!!!
And the worst part is that I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I loved to read your book!!! I loved Kaz’s scheming face, Inej’s silent justice, Jesper’s epiphany, Nina’s strength, Matthias’ transformation and Wylan’s sassy demeanor!!!

ARGH!!!
I hate love you Leigh Bardugo!!!!

Jeez, this book gave me such a hangover, but I’m still trying to write this review! I need to get those emotions off my chest and once I did, I might continue to cry an ocean or I might be able to move on. Either way I need to write this down now and I hope you’ll keep me company and stay with me throughout this, no doubt, very long review! *lol*

”Brick by brick.“

The plot:

”That’s the problem with Ketterdam, Jesper thought as they stumbled uncertainly through the dark. Trusting the wrong person can get you killed.”

After pulling the most remarkable heist of mankind’s history, the crew of Kaz Brekker should be swimming in kruge and coins, yet everything it gained them is an empty pocket and an abducted member of their crew. Of course Kaz can’t accept the fact that Van Eck has not only betrayed them but also has taken Inej as a hostage and since we all know “Dirtyhands” we can already guess where this is heading. The bastard of the barrel is determined to get his money and even more importantly to get his Wraith! Kaz won’t rest until he finally got what he wants and Pekka Rollins as well as Jan Van Eck will have to pay with the only currency the Barrel knows… their blood! 😉

”Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

The characters:

” She thought of Jesper toying with his guns, Nina squeezing the life from a man with the flick of a wrist, Kaz picking a lock in his black gloves. Thugs. Thieves. Murderers. And all worth more than a thousand Jan Van Ecks.”

Warning: The characters section as well as the rest of the review is going to contain A LOT of spoilers! If you don’t want to read them you might stop now!

Kaz:

”She realised he’d stopped to change his coat and it clung to him in perfectly tailored lines. He stood leaning on his cane, hair neatly pushed back from his pale brow, a black glass boy of deadly edges.”

I love Kaz Brekker! This man is so awesome, I almost have no words! He always tries to show himself as a monster but deep down within him he’s probably the kindest and most honourable man anyone can wish for! I admired his pickpocket skills, his determination to get everything right, his strength and his wish to change the circumstances in which they live. He has such a sharp mind and his plans are so cunning, I can’t help but have to adore him for it! *lol* His background story still breaks my heart and I hated to see how much it shaped him, how hard it made it to love his crew. And yes, he loves every single one of them, not just Inej. The things he did for them! His little gestures that turned out to be a tornado in the aftermath, gosh once the dust settled it was so obvious that he truly cares! And that moment when he went to the Dregs?! OH GOD!! It killed me!!! He sacrificed himself in order to save the others and I almost died when I read this chapter!!! I think I have no more words, just deep love and endless affection that fill my heart whenever I think about this kind boy who was forced to live in a cruel world!!! <333

”He wasn’t Dirtyhands or Kaz Brekker or even the toughest lieutenant in the Dregs. He was just a boy fuelled by a white flame of rage, one that threatened to burn the pretense of the hard-won civility he maintained to ash.”

”That’s where you’re wrong,” said Kaz. “I don’t hold a grudge. I cradle it. I coddle it. I feed it fine cuts of meat and send it to the best schools. I nurture my grudges, Rollins.”

”I’ve taken knives, bullets, and too many punches to count, all for a little piece of this town,” said Kaz. “This is the city I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it’s that you can always bleed a little more.”

Inej:

”Inej made a silent promise. Even if her plan failed, even if he smashed her legs to pulp, even if she never walked again, she’d find a way to pay him back in kind. She didn’t know how, but she’d manage it. She’d survived too much to let Jan Van Eck destroy her.

My brave, small and deadly girl! Oh, how much I suffered with her when she was in the captivity of Jan Van Eck!!! I swear when he threatened to break her legs my heart skipped a beat and I almost couldn’t bear to read her thoughts about Kaz! I wanted to tell her that he loves her, I wanted to scream it in her face!!! It was maddening! Still, I loved how strong Inej became, how she decided that she’d lead another life and would dedicate it to hunt the slave traders that took her away from her family! I think by killing Dunyasha she finally freed herself and was able to accept the person she has become and in some strange way I was even really proud of her! XD

”Inej was whole, unharmed. She bore no scars or trauma from her ordeal on Eil Komedie that food and sleep would not ease. But Van Eck had taken something from her nonetheless. I’ll be no use to him anymore. Words torn from some hidden place inside her, a truth she could not unknow. She should be glad of it. Better terrible truths than kind lies.“

Matthias:

”Big, blond, and blind,” Jesper said. “The Fjerdan way.”

Oh god, Matthias! I can’t even write his name without forcing myself to hold back my tears! Such a waste. Such a terrible, terrible waste of a man that could have become someone great! I loved his character development in this book! I loved the way he adored Nina, how he treated her, took care of her, how he decided to ignore everything he was taught because he finally realised that it was all a lie! He tried to overcome his prejudices and he worked so hard to become a better man! Why, Leigh?! Why did you have to kill this wonderful man?!!! He died because he tried to help a young boy and his death was so useless and unnecessary! But then again, death always is. It makes no difference between young and old, kind or cruel, it’s just death and he always gets what he wants. =((
I’m mourning for the man Matthias could have become, for the wasted potential and for the boy that never got a chance to truly love! RIP Matthias Helvar! You’ve been better than waffles, it’s true!

“Meeting you was a disaster.”
She raised a brow. “Thank you.”
Djel, he was terrible at this. He stumbled on, trying to make her understand. “But I am grateful for that disaster. I needed a catastrophe to shake me from the life I knew. You were an earthquake, a landslide.”

”Do not be afraid. Fear is how they control you.” We’ll find a way to change their minds. The boy had only been with the order for six months. He could be reached. “There’s so much in the world you don’t have to be afraid of, if you would only open your eyes.”

Nina:

”She was dressed in a sheer lavender gown rigged with some kind of corset that pushed her cleavage to alarming heights, and though she’d lost weight since her battle with parem, there was still plenty of her for Smeet to grab onto.“

My beautiful and fierce Grisha!!! My heart aches so much for her! Gosh! She was so brave and strong when she fought her addiction for jurda parem! I can’t even say how much I love this woman!! Life wasn’t kind to her but she still managed to joke, she still tried to deal with the cards destiny had dealt her and she always believed in Matthias! XD I wish I could hug her, cradle her, that I could tell her that everything is going to be alright, that she’ll overcome the loss of Matthias, that it will hurt and rip her heart out, but also that it will become better with time. She was SO. DAMN. STRONG. when she let him go and gosh I can’t even… I feel so sorry for her… because I know how it feels, because Leigh Bardugo managed to hit a nerve… Leigh, I think I’ll never forgive you for hurting Nina so much! T_T

”You have your own problems right now, Zenik, said a voice in her head. Stop worrying about saving the world and save your own ass. Sometimes her inner voice could be very wise.”

”Nina had grieved for her loss of power, for the connection she’d felt to the living world. She’d resented this shadow gift. I thad seemed like a sham, a punishment. But just as surely as life connected everything, so did death. It was that endless, fast-running river. She’d dipped her finger into its current, held the eddy of its power in her hand. She was the Queen of Mourning, and in its depths, she would never drown.“

Jesper:

”Jesper focused on the bullet, sensed the smallest parts of it. Maybe he was the same. A bullet in a chamber, spending his whole life waiting for the moment when he would have direction.”

Oh boy did he struggle in this book! My poor sharpshooter had to deal with so many different things and even though his own life was a more than just complicated mess, he still tried everything possible to help Wylan and the others as best as he could! His relationship with his father was pretty rocky and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. His inner fight resonated so much with me and I could understand why he’s so restless and reckless all of the time! Jesper was forced to suppress an essential part of him, a part that would have needed an outlet and caused him to end up searching the thrill. It made me sad that his father saw his gift as a curse and tried to squash it, but it also made me proud that Jes finally decided to stand up for himself! XD In the end he took responsibility for his actions and he tried to change his life! And when it comes down to it, this actually means everything!!! =)

”There’s a wound in you, and the tables, the dice, the cards – they feel like medicine. They soothe you, put you right for a time. But they’re poison, Jesper. Every time you play, you take another sip. You have to find some other way to heal that part of yourself.”

”I didn’t raise you to be a gambler, Jesper. I certainly didn’t raise you to be a criminal.”
Jesper released a bitter huff of laughter. “I love you, Da. I love you with all my lying, thieving, worthless heart, but yes, you did.”

Wylan:

”Always hit where the mark isn’t looking,” Wylan had murmured.
“Sweet Ghezen,” said Jesper. “You’ve been thoroughly corrupted.”

Awww Wylan, my precious cinnamon roll!!! GOSH! How much I adored him in this book!!! *lol* He became so strong and independent and it was a pleasure to see him evolve!!! His background story broke my heart and I swear when he found out that his mother was still alive I was devastated!!! How could his father do this to him? To his own child?!! I don’t get it!!! Still, I loved how strong Wylan became, how he sharpened his mind and learned to take Kaz’s advice! And god, when they started to beat him I wanted to jump into the book and save my little boy!!!! I can’t believe he let them break his ribs just to make it convincing and oh my god that moment when he turned on his father at the auction!! It was priceless!!! XD I love, love, love the new sassy and reckless Wylan!!!! And I want more!!! Leigh do you hear me?! I WANT MORE!!!

”Wylan Van Eck, you lied to Kaz Brekker.” Jesper clutched a hand to his chest. “And you got away with it! Do you give lessons?”
Wylan felt ridiculously pleased – until he thought about Kaz finding out. Then he felt a little like the first time he’d tried brandy and ended up spewing his dinner all over his own shoes.

”Wylan wanted to scream. The closet was crammed with paintings – landscapes, different views of the hospital grounds, a lake in sun and shadow, and there, repeated again and again, was the face of a little boy with ruddy curls and bright blue eyes.”

Jesper leaned in and said, quietly enough that no one else could hear, “I can read to him.”
“He has a very soothing baritone,” added Wylan, and then the guards were hauling his father down the aisle.

The ships:

”We meet fear, he’d said. We greet the unexpected visitor and listen to what he has to tell us. When fear arrives, something is about to happen.“

Inej & Kaz:

”I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together – knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Those two killed me once again!!! Their chemistry, the promise of their love!!! OH. MY. GOD!!! I loved how fierce and passionate Kaz became whenever he thought of Inej! He never said anything but damn, his thoughts!!! His thoughts!!! They were full of Inej!!! Full of his love for her!!! I died about a thousand deaths when they were in the bathroom together!!! He tried to overcome his phobia and his fears because he loved her so much and finally, FINALLY Inej realised how much it truly cost him to be so close to her!!! ARGH!! I’m still not over the bathroom scene or the fact that he actually paid her indenture!!! He even bought her a ship for Christ’s Sake!!! I just love those two and I really hope they’ll manage to be together!! The anticipation of what they could become, of what they could be together!!! I’m already fainting by just thinking about it!!! XD

”The silence between them was dark water. He could not cross it. He couldn’t walk the line between the decency she deserved and the violence this path demanded. If he tried, it might get them both killed. He could only be who he truly was – a boy who had no comfort to offer.“

”Before he even knew what he intended, he lowered his head. She drew in a sharp breath. His lips hovered just above the warm juncture between her shoulder and the column of her neck. He waited. Tell me to stop. Push me away.
She exhaled. “Go on,” she repeated. Finish the story.
The barest movement and his lips brushed her skin – warm, smooth, beaded with moisture. Desire coursed through him, a thousand images he’d hoarded, barely let himself imagine – the fall of her dark hair freed from its braid, his hand fitted to the lithe curve of her waist, her lips parted, whispering his name.”

”She felt his knuckles slide against hers. Then his hand was in her hand, his palm was pressed against her own. A tremor moved through him. Slowly he let their fingers entwine.”

Nina & Matthias:

”At one point he bathes her.”
Matthias’ steps faltered. “Why would he –“
“She’s tied up, so he has to.”
“Be silent.”
“Already giving orders. That’s very barbarian of you. Or we could mix it up. I’ll be the barbarian and you can be the princess. But you’ll have to do a lot more sighing and trembling and biting your lip.”
“How about I bite your lip?”
“Now you’re getting the hang of it, Helvar.”

The ship has sunk! T_T WHY!? They were so cute together, they should have been happy and they should have gotten a chance to make things right!!! They only kissed!!! They never got an opportunity to date properly; they never even did more than kiss!!!! WHY, LEIGH!? WHY??!!! You destroyed me! You deprived me of all the happiness they could have had!! They deserved so much better than to be parted by death!!! After everything they’ve been through they should have had a happy ever after!!! I’ll never be over Matthias death! Never! Their love was a delicate flower that never even got a chance to bloom! =( *sobs uncontrollably*

”You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.”

”How many rules have you broken since you met me? How many laws? They won’t be the last. Nothing about us will ever be proper,” she said. She tilted her face up to his. So close now it was as if they were already touching. “Not the way we met. Not the life we lead. And not the way we kiss.”

Wylan & Jesper:

”Yes, this is what I want,” said Jesper. Wylan looped his satchel over his shoulder, and without thinking, Jesper reached out and untwisted the strap. He didn’t let go. “But it’s not all that I want.”

I’ll never forget the moment Jesper called Wylan, Wy! They were so sweet to each other, their gentle gestures, their little sexual innuendos! Oh god how hard I shipped them! I wanted them to kiss and they never did!! *lol* And then the thing with Kuwei happened and I was like: NUUUUUU!!!! WHY??!!! I already saw the shipwreck but then they managed to get their act together!! They were adorable!!! The way Jesper took care of Wylan after he found out about his mom!! It was amazing!! It was cute, it meant everything to me!!! And their first kiss!!?? OH GOD!!! It was sooo perfect!!! It was worth the painful wait and I’m so damn happy they are finally together!!! <333 Jesper and Wylan forever!!! I’ll ship them until I die!!!! XD

”Wy, listen to me. You have to pull yourself together. Can you do this? We can leave. I can tell her you’re not up to it, or I can just go in myself. We can try to come back some – “

”There was only the reality of Wylan’s mouth, the press of his lips, then the fine bones of his neck, the silky feel of his curls as Jesper cupped his nape and drew him nearer. This was the kiss he’d been waiting for. It was a gunshot. It was prairie fire. It was the spin of Makker’s Wheel. Jesper felt the pounding of his heart – or was it Wylan’s? – like a stampede in his chest, and the only thought in his head was a happy, startled, Oh.“

Jesper’s eyes travelled from the top of Wylan’s red-gold curls to the tips of his toes and back again. “But I do charge a pretty steep fee.”
Wylan flushed a magnificent shade of pink. “Well, hopefully the medic will be here to fix my ribs soon,” he said as he headed back into the parlor.
“Yeah?”
“Yes,” said Wylan, glancing briefly over his shoulder, his cheeks now red as cherries. “I’d like to make a down payment.”

My conclusion:

Leigh Bardugo’s “Crooked Kingdom” is a masterpiece of high emotions! It will destroy you and rip your heart out, but what’s even worse is that it’s like jurda parem. Once you read it, it will leave you gasping and craving for more! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo)

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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: Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo)

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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