In one word: Fine
Cannonball Read Bingo: Adapt
I don’t read a lot of YA so I’m a late adopter of what’s hot in the genre, so I first heard of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books on a Cannonball Read Zoom meet-up. My CBR buddies told me I could skip the trilogy (which chronologically takes place first) and go right to the duology, as the duology was better, and doesn’t really build on the action of the trilogy. Other than a romance novel, I have never intentionally read anything “out of order” as I have a slight interest in doing things the “right” way. (And by “slight interest” I really mean fixation/obsession and yes I’m working on it in therapy. THERAPY RULES). But when it comes to reading, I heavily weigh the opinions of my CBR peeps, so I did as they said, and not as I do, and they were right.
I loooved the duology and didn’t even intend to read the trilogy, but I was delighted to have my reluctant reader teen read the duology, so finishing the journey made sense. I bought him the trilogy, checked out a copy of this one for myself, and we embarked on this journey together. It was…fine. As I was warned, this story relies pretty heavily on the romantic interest between Alina and Mal as they hop aboard a three-book never-ending carousel of will they/won’t they. There are some great magical elements in this book and interesting plot turns, but overall it’s a pretty standard YA fantasy of good vs evil that never really takes off.
But the thing I need to really get off my chest is how RAGE-INDUCING the Netflix adaptation is. They have taken these two series, which occupy the same universe but a different timeline, smushed them together to take place at the same time, and changed the action so that although Kaz et all are still doing a heist, now they are trying to heist to get to Alina (!!) who they don’t even meet in the other books. The real insult to metaphorical injury is that they have done a great job setting up the world: the special effects are well done, the scenery is gorgeous, and the actors cast are pitch-perfect for the roles. Which makes it even MORE infuriating that they are smashing this all together in a blender rather than doing two shows.
All that said, my kiddo likes it (and in fact, asks to watch it every day) so I will sit watching it with my jaw clenched until the bitter end.