This is the first book in a brand new duo-logy set in the Grishaverse, by bestselling author Leigh Bardugo. I cannot tell you how excited I was when I found out we were getting a Nikolai book! I adored his character in the Grisha trilogy, and he fast became one of my favourite characters. I was so happy when I realised we would get to see more Nina as well, who I have missed since reading the Six of Crows Duo-logy.
This story starts roughly 2 years after the end of the original Grisha trilogy, and I would warn you that a lot of the plot and characters might not make sense if you haven’t read Leigh’s previous works. We see Ravka on the bridge of war with both the Fjerdans and the Shu, with Nikolai and the Triumvirate are the only things currently holding the country together.
Leigh again had me hooked from the first few pages of this book. I knew I was going to enjoy it… I just didn’t realise how much! The story-line was thoroughly engrossing and, as always, you have an invested interest in the characters outcome. I found myself really routing for Zoya throughout this book, and I never thought I would say those words! I loved her character arc and the progression she made throughout the book. We learn a lot about her past, and get some insight into why she acts the way she does.
I adore Nikolai’s wit and this was prevalent throughout the book. However, after 2 years of Ravka being in a state of unease, unsure who is friend and who is foe, you can almost feel the weight of the crown weighing down on his head. We learn more about Nikolai’s past, and I have to say what we learn just made me love him even more.
One thing I found when reading was Leigh’s ability to subtly bring in the characters from her previous books. Though we hear mentions of Kaz and crew from Nina, and Sankta Alina gets plenty of mentions, she left some slightly subtler hints for those of us who know, and love, her previous work.
“Nikolai set to opening the Schuyler combination locks he’d learned about from a certain master thief in Ketterdam”
“They’d sent the great golden coach and its glittering outriders to Keramzin. There, the party would be welcomed by the couple who ran the orphanage and who they knew could be trusted with the secrets of the crown.”
She even managed a little throwback to one of my all time favourite Disney films!
“Together, they endured several courses and many jellies, celebrated the solid and highly recognizable venison steak, and agreed that whatever the gray stuff was, it was delicious.”
That ending though! I wont spoil it in case any of you haven’t read the book yet, but you will understand when you do. I just didn’t see it coming. I find cliffhanger endings so infuriating, especially when I know I have to wait so long for the next book. Despite this I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s an easy 5/5 for me and I can see it being one of my top reads of the year.
Have you read this yet? Or is it on your TBR? I desperatly need to talk to someone about this ending! Let me know in the comments.