Kaz Brekker and his team of highly skilled thugs and thieves find themselves in the middle of the heist of the century. The risk is great but the reward is greater, that is, if they get out alive.
Pulished: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
This was one of those books that I enjoyed so much I had to own it. Between the characters, the magical setting, the crazy twists and turns, and the beautiful cover art and maps this series had to belong to me. It took me a long time to actually finish the book because I’ve been so busy lately, but every time I had a free minute I was devouring this book. Everyone was raving about it and now I know why.
I was obsessed with the setting of the novel. I didn’t read the Grisha trilogy before I started this because I had heard more hype about this duology and couldn’t wait to read it, but now I’m even more excited to start her Grisha trilogy. I love the magic concept and how original it all is. I don’t think I’ve read a story this original in a long time, and I was genuinely left guessing at every turn and was always curious to learn new things about the Grishaverse. I loved being able to look at the map every time they mentioned something related to location, it was a perfect pairing for the story. I felt the same way when I was reading ACOTAR, maps just pull you in. All the little background information you learn along the way about the Grisha and the Second Army, the Ice Court and their prized Grisha hunters, and the thugs that prowled the Barrel just made me want to read more and more. Everything was just so lush and detailed, I love when books make you feel like you’re in their world, and that’s exactly what this book did for me.
The characters, though very different from one another, made quite the team. I was so obsessed with the romance and friction between Nina and Matthias (let’s just talk about page 389 and 436) and I can’t wait to see more of their interactions in the next book. The whole Kaz and Inej thing? Ship it. Jesper and Wylan? Ship it even more. I love love love that Bardugo included a gay couple in her novel. I wasn’t expecting it but absolutely didn’t hate it. This group started to feel like my friends. I was totally enthralled with their group interactions, their back stories, and every other little thing that went into these characters. I haven’t felt this way since reading ACOMAF, and we all know how much I LOVE that book. I loved the parts where we got to go back and see pieces of the character’s lives, like Kaz with his brother or Nina traveling the icy lands of Fjerda with Matthias. I lived for these stories as well as the parts in the present.
Bardugo has such a way with words, too. The writing in this is spectacular. She somehow manages to make all these people, and the magical world they inhabit, feel so real. Each character has their own distinct way of thinking, of talking, of believing, that I wouldn’t even have to read the names at the beginning of the chapter because after one paragraph I would know I was reading from Nina’s point of view, or Inej’s, or Jesper’s. I loved the way she mixed in the beliefs and customs and languages of so many different and fictional cultures into each character. I love how Inej sprouted Suli proverbs to the group during hard times, I love the way Matthias spoke about his Fjerdan brothers, and how Nina always talked about her homeland of Ravka.
The plot was masterful. There were so many twists and turns, both big and little, that I didn’t know what was going to happen from one paragraph to the next. It was such a thrilling read, from beginning to end. This book was just so detailed and well planned out, everything connected so well and all these little things played into each other to create such a beautiful book, inside and out. This was my first Leigh Bardugo book, but it certainly won’t be my last.