I have no words. I am speechless. I love this book, even if it left me shattered…
Alina Starkov, Sankta Alina is trying to recover in the White Cathedral. But light is unreachable so far beyond the surface, she has almost lost herself. The Apparat is keeping her underground while the Darkling has seized Ravka’s throne and rules his ruthless way. An army of believers is being formed underground but it’s mostly full of weak people that are fed only by their faith, seeking shelter off their living Saint. She wants to help them all, to protect them all, as she knows whta the Darkling is capable of. And for that, she has too get buck to the surface, get the Firebird, her third amplifier and defeat him.
Eventually she emerges to light. She has Mal in her company as well as a few Grisha that had gone underground with her. It is not an easy task, but the have to find Nikolai and then search for the Firebird. Word has it that the prince is still alive and thankfully it is not only rumors as they found each other and they join their forces. The hunting must start as soon as possible, but first she needs to ensure that the Little Palace students are safe. As they are about to bring them from Keramzin to a safe place, they are attacked by the Darkling, his Grisha and of course his nitsevo’ya. And hell breaks out…
Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay. I tilted my head back. The stars looked as if they were close together, when really they were millions of miles apart. In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach.
I created a bond with this book, the kind of bond that Alina and the Darkling shared. It’s my favorite of all three, even though I mourned for so many this time. I loved how the characters turned out in this third book. They are more complete, more mature and ones I recognize and love. Alina has learned a lot from her mistakes, from Nikolai, from Baghra’s lessons, even from Botkin’s lessons. But she also learned from the Darkling himself. He was always so open to her. She finds the strength to go against the Darkling and she becomes a leader for her followers. She brings together people that would never be in the same company otherwise. She is a caring person. She may have lost her parents but she doesn’t want to lose Ravka too. She fights for her country, for her people and she is willing to do whatever it takes to save Ravka, even if that means to not have Mal in her life. But she cannot restrain the need to get the third amplifier. She cannot deny that urge, being it for the good of Ravka or her own greed, she doesn’t care any more.
Mal was a revelation. He was strong like the soldier he has always been. He was a commander for the army of the faithful as well as for their company. He was the talented tracker that we very well saw in the two previous books. He was a man in love that would give up everything for the woman he loved. He was wise to step back when he believed that Alina was meant to be queen someday. He was the great man to offer his life for her when it came to that. He was more mature in the third book and I loved him.
But I loved Nikolai more! This character is amazing. Nikolai is clever and smart and can turn anything into something useful. He can be a great leader, a general, a person that can set a strategy at any given time and in a very short time frame. He can be funny and charming and can say all the right words. He is wise in his own way. And just like Genya said, “The man can dress!”.He goes through a lot and he cherishes his friends. He doesn’t want to push Alina or Mal over something but Ravka comes first for him, so he will do whatever is needed. I loved his flying boats and all the intelligence he had to show! I am looking forward to read more about him in “King of Scars”.
“You were meant to be my balance, Alina. You are the only person in the world who might rule with me, who might keep my power in check.”
Last but not least is the Darkling. The vilain we all love to hate, or just love for that matter. He got into my heart in this one. He wanted the best for his people, the best for Ravka, for he had seen a lot, more than anyone could bare, but he also had lost track somewhere in the process. He wanted her, not only out of greed, but he wanted to become better with her. After all, he was only a boy once that lived a thousand lives alone. He wanted not to be alone anymore. He wanted someone like him. I don’t forgive him, but I understand and sympathize him. I want the girl to be with the boy.
“Aleksander,” I whispered. A boy’s name, given up. Almost forgotten.