Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 3 stars.
Unpopular opinion time!
The Grisha Trilogy are some of my favorite YA books of all time, so I was looking forward to Bardugo’s next series. I was honestly a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy reading Six of Crows, but it did not blow me away as so many other people seem to be expressing.
One of Bardugo’s biggest strengths is her poetic writing style. She has a way of packing a meaningful punch through the pictures she weaves for her audience, both in the characters’ emotional journeys as well as their physical journeys. I think that is what kept me reading all the way to the end. Otherwise, everything was just completely . . . obvious.
I knew immediately who was supposed to fall for whom, what the characters’ background stories were most likely to be, and where the whole thing was heading. The character interactions seemed oddly forced, especially the building relationship between Jesper and Wylan, and even to some extent the feelings between Kaz and Inej. Kaz is supposed to be a horrible person (i.e when he rips the one guy’s eyeball out with his bare hands) yet at the same time a victim and noble man of honor, but I found myself mostly concerned that his behavior was basically condoned through the book. The entire plot line surrounding Matthias and Nina, too, is worrisome (as in this is a terrible example of love and a meaningful relationship), and, frankly, one-dimensional.
Much of it boils down to that Bardugo was attempting to do too much with too many characters in one book. I’m not sure if this was a publisher’s choice or what, but I felt like every other second was a flashback. I must give Bardugo props for her pacing, however, because while a little tiresome, it could have been a whole lot worse. Maybe, with more time spent weaving the stories of these characters for the reader, or if Kaz had been written as less of a martyr and more as a broken man trying to survive the only way he knows how, I could have found it all a little more believable, and it would have moved me the way I was moved by Alina, Mal, and the Darkling.