My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You just never know how the story is going to go. Of course, when you read the first book of a series, you naturally expect the second book to be about the same. However, you can’t always rely on that, because sometimes that’s not always the case.
I can’t say that this book generally follows the same pace as the first book, because for me, it doesn’t. That isn’t to say I didn’t like it, because as you can see by my rating, I did. But it is different, and to be honest, some people may not find the pacing to their liking.
There is still a good bit of action involved, however, there’s also a lot of internal turmoil with Alina and having to deal with the ramifications of the events of the first book, even when it comes to Mal, or especially when it comes to Mal. You find her to be very untrusting of anyone, including herself, as may be expected, and you may find it frustrating. I know I did.
Mal’s position in all this is also much different than when it was in the first book, and you learn more about it. I definitely felt for him, but I found him just as much in turmoil emotionally as Alina, even after reuniting with her at the end of Shadow and Bone.
There are some supporting characters that make a return in a way you didn’t expect and there are a few new characters that are quite likeable. Keep a watch out for Sturmhond. He is by far the most exciting new character in the book.
As with some second books, they tend to be more of a set-up for the third and final book of the series. This one serves its purpose as that, I believe, and in saying so, again it feels realistic in the pacing of the procession of events. That’s not to say it’s boring, because I was actually surprised at how fast I was able to read through the book.
The book is quite descriptive, but I don’t think that you could understand anything about the action-y parts of the book without the descriptive parts of the book, so I appreciated the pacing of it.
The hard part was wanting things to be good for these people and not seeing it fully realized. This book had my heart pumping and aching and tightening, and every so often, laughing with humor… but not as often as I would like. Yes, I am not ashamed to say tears were shed, even for people that I didn’t think I would shed tears for.
The hard part about having to complete it so fast is that I have to wait that much longer for Ruin and Rising to be released. *sigh* Waiting can be so torturous in itself.
Realistically, I’d give this book a 3.5 stars, so slightly less than Shadow and Bone, but still very good.
You can read my review of Shadow and Bone here.