In book two of the Shadow and Bone series, The Darkling (or, as we refer to him in my house The Darkling Duck) is maaaaad having been thwarted in his attempt to wield Alina’s power… for the time being. Alina and Mal are now on the run, hopeful that by tracking the second amplifier they might be able to give Alina the edge she needs to fight The Darkling (Duck) and be victorious. Full disclosure, the action from the Netflix adaptation has me all jumbled so it’s hard to remember what happens when in the series (not to mention that this series is thrown into a spinner with the action and characters from Crooked Kingdom which I promise I will not rant about as long as I did in my first review but booooooo. Booooooo! JUSTICE FOR KAZ, INEJ, JESPER, MATTIAS, AND NINA).
Anyhoodle, this book has more moony-eyed glances between Alina and Mal and he’s doing fight clubs or whatever to suppress his feelings and now she’s all but what will I BECOME as she wrestles with darkness and is now in charge of the army which like no one else was available but okay?
The silver lining of this book, and maybe the series, is the rakish and charming Nicolai, the (rumored) bastard and prince and sometimes pirate. He provides a fun foil for both Alina and Mal and breathes life into the story. One last thing I’ll grumble about is that one of my least favorite things that people (real or imagined) do is keep things from other people that are in a position to assist them; call it lying or obfuscation, I don’t like it. Any episode of TNG where characters are experiencing weird feelings/phenomena and just shaking it off has me yelling WHY AREN’T YOU TELLING PICARD. But I digress.
So the thing where Alina is having these visions/experiences WITH the Darkling (Duck), their sworn enemy they are trying to hide from and keeps it to herself? MA’AM. THAT IS RELEVANT INFORMATION AND THESE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO HELP YOU AND FIGHT THIS WAR BESIDE YOU, DUMMY. TELL. THEM.
All that said, this book was fun to read out loud to my kid so though I’m giving the book only 3 stars because of the quality family time and getting my kid to read more it gets 5 out of 5 parenting stars.