CBR14 BINGO: Series
(first in a duology and part of the Grishaverse series of books)
I have probably already sufficiently raved about the Grishaverse books written after the initial triology, but here I go again. Nikolai was a favorite character from those books so I was excited to revisit him and spend more time with his wink-filled antics.
If you haven’t read the Shadow and Bone trilogy or Six of Crows duology, stop right there. Go to the library and get cracking. From here it gets spoilery.
King Nikolai is trying to create the Ravka he envisions but a pesky curse stands in his way. Having the propensity to occasionally shapeshift into a flying black demon isn’t good for diplomacy. Rebuilding a nation after the war with the Darkling is hard enough without the current regent requiring a team of sitters to make sure his cursed self doesn’t invade a villager’s henhouse or fly off with a tasty villager altogether.
As his cohorts put on a dog and pony show for the other nations, King Nikolai and his military leader head back to the place that started it all: the Fold. In a desperate attempt to remove the curse, Nikolai returns to the darkness that created it.
This book is about the duality inside of everyone. Terrified to acknowledge their own darkness, each character struggles against it. A soldier tries to make peace with her past and struggles with trusting her own strength. A young woman who sacrificed her well-being to save the world mourns the loss of her lover and the conscience he provided her. A leader fears he is an imposter unable to control his own impulses. The leader’s inner circle, redeeming themselves through service to Ravka, hopes that they have not misplaced their loyalties again.
This was a solid story and I was beyond happy to spend time with Nikolai again. I loved the fleshing out of Zoya’s character and it’s always great to spend time with Nina. However, I didn’t find this one as captivating as the Six Crows duology. Missed the gang here. I needed a little Jesper maybe? Everything is better with a little bit of Jesper.