The more I read the Bardugo books, the more impressed I am with her story telling ability. This book told a tale on three fronts, intertwining two of them quite nicely, with the third set to merge in Rule of Wolves (hopefully). It was fantastic to read the perspectives of two favourites (Nikolai and Nina), as well as reading Zoya’s point of view, while introducing the body double Isaak.
The story didn’t seem to follow any specific plot other than Nikolai dealing with the fall out of the Ravkan civil war and Nina returning to Ravka and moving into Fjerda as a spy. However, following both characters journeys did lead to two incredible cliffhangers; the return of the Darkling – the Shadow and Bone antagonist, as well as Nina attempting to change Fjerda in such close proximity as her nightmare enemy, Jarl Brum.
Bardugo expanded on her Grishaverse by delving deeper into Grisha lore with the introductions of Sankts Juris, Elizaveta, and Grigori.
There is also praise for Bardugo’s ability in that she was able to give so much depth to Zoya’s character, who was wildly unpopular in the first trilogy, turning her into a fan favourite.
The book balanced politics, action, and character development quite well, never leaving me bored or tired of ‘the same old thing’. The pacing was great dovetailing into Isaac’s (extremely sad) death, the reveal of the Shu princess, the betrayal of Sankt Elizaveta, the pending wars, Nikolai’s return as both king and harborer of the shadow monster, and of course the return of the Darkling.
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Shadow and Bone Trilogy
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