Bingo 8: Rec’d
I picked up Rule of Wolves partly because Narfna seemed to mostly like it (6/21/21) and it was out on a library display, so opportunity. Admittedly I hadn’t read it’s prequel but that turned out to be fine, since I had previously read the duology that comes directly before this one. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing for the previous entry in the series, but at this point I doubt I’ll be seeking it out since I now know how things turn out.
The biggest thing I agree with Narfna on is that there are some problems, but also some really good bits. For me, there is just too much going on in this story. There are about 6 different plotlines all interwoven going on at once: there’s Nikolai and Zoya (both personal (on several levels) and Ravkan politics/war), there’s the Ehri and Makhi and the Shu experiments involving Grisha (and also politics and war), there’s Mayu, there’s Nina (now known as Mila, undercover in Fjerda) and Hanne Brum (personal and politics/war), there’s Yuri (who is actually someone else now, but that’s mild spoilers), there’s a side episode in Ketterdam with Kaz Brekker, and there’s also assorted mostly Grisha side bits, like Tamar, or David and Genya (which admittedly is pretty cute stuff for most of the book).
What this ends up resulting in is parts you like, and parts that you don’t really dragging, making for a rather uneven reading and/or enjoying. One thing I’ve really enjoyed about both the Six of Crows pair and this story (the only 3 Grishaverse books I’ve read) is that they manage to balance the dark fantasy with hope and somewhat happy endings, let’s say happy with a cost. I don’t quite understand why Nina seems to get so much attention, but then again she does get a suitable ending. The Shu parts seemed like that was almost another story entirely that doesn’t quite fit here as it’s underdeveloped, although there’s been hints of it elsewhere. Maybe that’s something I missed in not reading King of Scars? I’m honestly thinking I don’t really need to have read the prior novel, since this one makes sense enough on its own.
The two things that I really didn’t like was the focus on manipulating people through their faith beliefs (done in more than one strand), and certain plot devices getting overused, like body-snatching –like possession (mostly happened in the prior novel but referenced plenty here), and tailoring or disguise reveals, related often to people who are thought or supposed to be dead suddenly not.
A good ending for most plotlines but open ended enough to leave room for further developments, but at this point I’m not sure I care enough. I’d be up for more focus on Kaz and his crew, or more details about the Shu part of the world.