Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: four stars
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Goodreads Summary: Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
I am still trying to alternate between the Throne of Glass series and the Shadow and Bone series because finishing both is something that I want to accomplish in 2020 – especially since the show in this universe is in production! Though I don’t think I liked this book as much as the first one, it was still enjoyable to me and I look forward to the third one.
Likes: I am still wowed by this world and magic system. We start to see parts of Alina’s magic and others that we haven’t seen before which is exciting. Alina goes on some huge adventures in this book, so a lot more of the world is explored which was fascinating. While on these adventures she meets new characters that I came to love. The new characters were so intriguing and confusing, but in a good way. They were complex, and it was honestly hard to tell what the new characters were going to do and what side they are on because they were good actors. I love this complexity. I truly believe the best part of this book was the new characters that appeared.
Dislikes: The main character’s personality starts changing in a direction that I don’t enjoy or believe to be quite honest. The actions that she wants to take involve doing things that she has been against for the entire first book. It just isn’t believable that she would change so much, so quickly. I understand that power changes people, and she has been through some horrific things in her life. However, it is just hard to believe she would want to do the things she does. Also, I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I do not like how the author is trying to connect Alina and the Darkling in a romantic way. It just doesn’t make sense that she would see him in that way at all, and it honestly seems like Leigh is trying to please the readers who ship them.
Overall, I did like this book, and I do still love this series. However, there are just so many things that are hard for me to believe, which is why I had to deduct a star. It seems like some of the relationships and actions of the characters happen to either move the story along or to please the fans. It doesn’t seem realistic. I do still love the world, the magic system, and the new characters. I am still excited for the last book and can’t wait to read it!
Throne of Glass Author: Sarah J. Maas Genre: YA, Fantasy Rating: ★★★★★
Throne of Glass is about an assassin who enters into a competition to become the King’s Champion. It is a story full of training, trails, secrets, and even some romance. The writing was incredible and kept me at the edge of my seat. I liked Sarah J. Maas’s descriptions and how well she paced the book. It didn’t seem to lull, and I enjoyed how well I was able to picture the story. The ending wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t deduct a star for that because I loved the rest of it so much.
Pros: had great pacing, a strong female main character who had other interests than just being an assassin (reading, fashion, etc). Cons: did not appreciate how she treated the two male leads, ending was bizarre. Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/03/throne-of-glass/
Shadow and Bone Author: Leigh Bardugo Genre: YA, Fantasy Rating: ★★★★★
Shadow and Bone is the story of Alina, a “normal” girl who ends up finding out that she has powers of Light – a rare ability that could save the entire country. She is taken away to be trained with the Grisha – the magical elite – under the watchful eye of the Darkling. I did really enjoy this story. The magic system with the different types of Grisha was interesting, I loved hearing about all the different types of magic. There was great world building too, I liked learning about the Shadowfold and all the mysteries surrounding it. I didn’t care for the ending and the “plot twist”, nor did I enjoy the weird love scenario that was going on.
Pros: interesting classes of magic users, great world building, many enjoyable characters – some of her instructors were hilarious Cons: her “insta-love” with a character that is supposed to literally be the Boogie Man and terrify her, the twist was relatively predictable and I didn’t believe a certain character would take the actions that they did, I was surprised that there didn’t seem to be a negative to magic – there was no trade off besides becoming more beautiful and living longer… Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/14/shadow-and-bone/
Loveboat, Taipei is a story of Ever Wong who is sent to a summer program in Taipei against her will. Her parents sent her there thinking it was a prestigious program where she would study for college the whole time, however, it turns out that it is full of partying and very little supervision. This story is all about Ever trying to find herself and become more confident in who she is and who she wants to be. I will be honest and say that the first half or two thirds annoyed me to no end. The characters were unlikeable and I hated the romance. However, as the story went on and I learned more about character backstories, and as the characters themselves grew into stronger people, I started to love it. The character growth itself was so powerful that it completely turned around my views of this story and made me love it!
Warriors Fire and Ice Author: Erin Hunter Genre: Middle Grade Rating: ★★★★★
Warriors Fire and Ice is the second book in the Warriors series. It is about Fireheart – a warrior of ThunderClan – and his struggles becoming a warrior and keeping his clan safe. There are threats from other clans, and even within his own clan, that he has to worry about. I liked Fireheart’s loyalty and his tenaciousness when trying to help other cats. I like how much he cares about other cats and how he is so determined to prove that he is meant to be a part of ThunderClan. This book had more adventure than the first book, and I loved seeing more of the other Clans and the outside world. I did not really care for Greystripe in this book… I did not believe that his character would act so carelessly, no matter what the reason, because he has such respect and love for his clan and for Fireheart.
Pros: Fireheart’s character growth, expansion upon the world, the strong bond between Greystripe and Fireheart even when they are going through a tough time. Cons: Greystripe’s character regression for most of the book was pretty unbelievable, Bluestar’s distrust of Fireheart. Full Review:https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/21/warriors-fire-and-ice/
House of Teeth Author: Dan Jolley Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy Rating: ★★★
House of Teeth is about a boy named Henry who is sent to the Louisiana bayou one summer to stay with his uncle and cousin. While he is there he learns that he is part of a long line of rootcrafters – people who can see memories of people whose teeth they touch. Throughout the story he learns there is so much more to rootcrafting than he could ever imagine. I did have fun listening to this story. The history of rootcrafting along with the abilities that it gives people was pretty unique and interesting to read about. However, the characters themselves and their actions weren’t as believable as I would have liked.
Pros: The story building and history behind rootcrafting, the abilities that are discovered throughout the book. Cons: Certain characters choices were out of character which made a lot of the story unbelievable. Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/27/house-of-teeth/
Interview with the Robot Author: Lee Bacon Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-fi Rating: ★★★★
Interview with the Robot is a middle grade sci-fi book about a robot named Eve, who discovers some crazy things about the place that she grew up in, and therefore runs away. She is caught shoplifting and is inverviewed by a woman from the Child Protective Services. This is where the story starts – her being interviewed. While being interviewed, we learn about her life and what caused her to run away. I really liked the interview format, it is something that I don’t see often in books and it made it interesting to listen to. The full cast of characters added some enjoyment to the story and they all did a great job narrating. As for the story itself, I enjoyed the character growth that happened, as well as the way in which the author slowly unraveled secrets. I was so surprised by most of the plot twists and information that was uncovered, I definitelly did not see most of it coming. Even though I loved the mystery of this novel, the ending was not the best. The story was short so I understand that the author did not have much time to wrap things up, however, I did not like how the ending was so abrupt and we didn’t get any closure. I would have loved to see where Eve’s relationship with some of the characters went.
Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: five stars
Genre: YA, fantasy
Goodreads Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
I have heard so much about this series (and the Six of Crows duology) for so long, I can’t believe I am just picking it up now. One of the reasons why is that I found the box set on sale for pretty cheap, and so of course I bought it. Also, with the show coming out soon, I figured I should read it! All I have heard about the book is concerning The Darkling. So many people are in love with the Darkling and that certainly made me intrigued. One of my friends personally doesn’t see what the hype is about him, and I am very interested in seeing what my thoughts are after reading the series so we can talk about it! Unfortunately, I believe I have heard some spoilers and that has been making the whole reading process not as exciting because I think I know what is coming.
Likes: I really enjoyed the magic system and how Leigh describes the use of it. How someone grasps at their magic is such a personal and obscure thing to think about, but because of Leigh’s descriptions, I can picture it vividly which makes the story lifelike. The magic itself is also interesting. The different groupings of magic users, and what each of them can do was fun to learn about. Leigh can make characters so lovable and then make you hate them in the next sentence, and vice versa. It is kind of frustrating but at the same time I love it. The fact that she has the ability to do this is truly unique and makes this story full of twists and turns.
Dislikes: So, the Darkling is supposed to be this all-powerful figure. Everyone is terrified of him and he is basically the boogie man. However, when the main character meets him, she doesn’t act like she is scared of him at all! If I suddenly met someone who I (and everyone else) was terrified of, I most definitely would not be joking and flirting with him! That just seemed a little unrealistic. Another negative was that it was predictable. Most of this is because I had already heard huuuge spoilers (which I will not say here). I could guess some of the things that were going to happen on my own, but the spoiler that I heard gave a ton of it away which made the book frustrating to read. So most of it is not Leigh’s fault at all, however, other parts that were not spoiled for me were still predictable.
Overall, I gave this book five out of five stars. I had such a fun time reading this – minus the spoilers that ruined some of it. It was lighthearted at parts and dark at others. The contrasting elements really drew me in, and the magic and characters added to that. I am not going to take off a point for the interactions between the Darkling and Alina, simply because I thought it was cute and fun. Was it unrealistic? Yes. However, I still enjoyed it. I am also not going to take off points for it being predictable because a lot of it was because of the spoiler, and the other parts weren’t that big of a deal. I would definitely recommend this book and I can’t wait to read the rest!