Audiobooks · Reread Review · Series Review

DISAPPOINTING Reread Review/Rant: Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo (Audiobooks)

SoC

Synopsis for SoC:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


My Thoughts:

So… I actually didn’t enjoy the series as much as the first time around. I much preferred reading the physical books than listening. I love audiobooks but these did not do it for me. I felt less interested in the story, the majority of the narrators weren’t good – which really makes or breaks an audiobook for me.

First things first: None of the narrators sound young enough to play teenagers, especially Matthias & Jespers!! Get actual teenagers?! It would be so much better that way. But honestly, the characters are aged way too young to have done/ achieved some of the stuff they have. If the characters had been in their mid-20s it’d be more believable.

Six of Crows – Found this pretty boring.
I struggled to get into the story at first. It was slower/more boring than I remembered – I barely remembered any of the plot so it wasn’t boring because I knew everything. I just didn’t connect to it this time around. Sadly.

Crooked Kingdom – This was, again, slow but I was more interested this time. Maybe because I got used to the narrators by the time I got to this? I’m not sure. This is really a 3 Star read but I basically gave it an extra star because I like the characters and the ending! The ending was heartbreaking in some places and lovely in others. ALL THE FEELS.

Since I read this the first time, I have read SO many other YA fantasy and honestly, this is so overrated. Leigh Bardugo is overrated. I’m not sure whether to read more of her stuff or not. I kind of want to try King of Scars but who knows.

Things I learned from this reread:

  • The story/plot is so unmemorable – it’s the characters that stick with you.
  • Even though Leigh Bardugo’s writing is clearly better in these than the Shadow and Bone trilogy; I don’t think Leigh Bardugo is for me.
  • The series is seriously overrated.
  • Matthias is underrated.
  • I still don’t think you NEED to read SaB before SoC – yes there are hints/ characters from the trilogy but it doesn’t add much.
  • I’m not sure I enjoy full-cast audiobooks.

Characters:
Kaz: I love Kaz. He’s a complete psychopath but I like him. He’s such an interesting character. I wish there were more of Kaz POV chapters because I feel he’s the best/ more interesting character.
HIS NARRATOR IS THE WORST. God, I hated the lack of Kaz because he’s a great character but I don’t think I could cope with any more of his narrator. He sounded like a middled-age smoker.

Inej: Inej is a babe. I like her but she’s no longer my favourite. I just feel there’s a lack of her, especially in CK. I wanted more!! Especially more Inej and Kaz – their interactions were amazing in SoC but it was seriously lacking in CK.
Her narrator wasn’t bad, one of the better ones on these audiobooks.

Nina: I LOVE NINA!!! I thought Inej was my favourite dreg but from this reread I actually prefer Nina. She’s sassy, funny and has a great personality. I really connected with her character this time around. She’s now my fave from SoC! I love her and Matthias so much, too. Such great banter between them.
Her narrator was actually good – I feel like she captured Nina perfectly and got her tones and personality through.

Matthias: WHY does everyone hate Matthias?!! Seriously underrated character. I find him so funny and entertaining. His interactions with EVERYONE are amazing. He’s clueless and oblivious to some things and it’s funny. I don’t see the hate for him at all. I really enjoyed his part. MATTHIAS DESERVED BETTER!
His narrator had such an amazing, deep voice. It was dreamy to listen to.

Jesper & Wylan: Grouping these two together because reasons.
I like these two but there isn’t enough of them. I was NOT a fan of their narrators!! Wylan’s narrator was awful – especially when he did Kaz. OMG. Cannot even deal with Wylan’s narrator doing Kaz; he sounded like a witchy old woman. It was laughable. Jesper’s narrator was bad per se but he didn’t capture his happy/excitable nature, in my opinion.

Ratings:
Six of Crows ★★★.5
Crooked Kingdom ★★★★

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Books · Review

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | More Disappointment

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Synopsis:

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


My Thoughts:

Just when I thought I couldn’t be more disappointed with this series, I read this book.
I didn’t think it could get worse after Siege and Storm but it did, it managed to top Siege and Storm and be the worse in the series.
I had hope for this book, the reviews were amazing (why?!) and so I thought the story would just pick up and blow my mind. WRONG.

My god was this book boring. There were barely any good parts The first part was endless. It was so boring and slow; nothing happened for ages. I honestly don’t know how I finished this book – I guess I just hoped it would get better if I carried on.

The chapters in this book were longer and felt dragged out. I thought the last book felt dragged and full of filler but this one was even worse.  For a book that’s around 350pages, it feels as though it was 500+. It was too much of nothing. It just felt like the author had no idea what to do with this epic story she set up and it honestly went nowhere.

THAT PLOT TWIST – What. Was. That.
No spoilers but it was actually laughable. I literally just stopped reading and was shocked – in the worst way possible. It was ABSOLUTELY ridiculous and I cannot comprehend why anyone would think that was a good idea. It was one of the worst plot twists I’ve ever read.

The ending was awful too.

I AM SO DISAPPOINTED. I expected this trilogy to be so much better for the hype it has.

Is it time for me to stop reading hyped up YA fantasy? Probably.

Characters:
Alina: Character development WHO? Alina develops into an annoying, weak character. I was SO hoping for some growth from her but nope. Honestly, she spent WAY too much time loving Mal throughout the series and dude is trash? Mal and Alina are so wrong for each other and have zero chemistry – I don’t understand how anyone can honestly ship them? I don’t understand how as the writer you put a couple together and yet write them with no chemistry.

Mal: THIS BITCH. God, I hate Mal. He’s so useless and unnecessary. If he had been removed from the series it would improve by 50%. I honestly do not understand how anyone can like Mal. He’s terrible. Has never been able to deal with the fact Alina is powerful.
WHY try and make him important. He was USELESS for nearly three books and NOW he gets a purpose? NO. No. He cannot be redeemed, it’s too late. He’s forever useless to me.

The Darkling: WHAT HAPPENED. He turned out to be weak and lame. The ending was just too easy. So disappointed.

Nikolai: 
His absence was the death of this book. He is the best character by far in this series and the book failed without him.

The Apparat: Oh my goodness, this man. I mean most of the characters in this book are annoying but this guy takes the cake.

Rating: 2 Stars


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Books · Review

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo | DISAPPOINTING

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*Spoilers for Shadow and Bone in this review*
My review for Shadow and Bone is here


Synopsis:

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.


My Thoughts:

This book was a HUGE disappointment for me; Shadow and Bone set up for what could’ve been a really great series. I had such high expectations for this after reading the first book. Siege and Storm started off well – it had a good pace, it was interesting and it instantly had my attention, once again. I thought hurrah we’re off to a great start and another great book. I was wrong.

The middle section of the book was dragged out, it got boring and a chore to read. I was so upset! I had hope that it would pick up and become interesting again but it literally took until the last 50ish pages to get interesting.

This book suffers badly from ‘middle book syndrome’ – it’s literally all fluff and filler and nothing really happens. Everything about it was filler, I feel like this book could’ve been half the size and done the same thing. It’s just very mediocre, to say the least.

The best part: Nikolai – LOVE HIM!

Worst part: Literally everything else.
Especially Mal. Dear god, most of the book is Mal being a manchild and being as annoying as humanly possible.


Characters:
Alina: I don’t even know what to say about Alina. I’m so neutral on her, I don’t actively hate her and I don’t love her. She’s a ‘meh’ main character but not intolerable. However, I hate the ‘oh so plain girl but all the men want her’ thing this book has going on with her. She was whinier in this book too, as were most of the characters. *sigh*

Mal: Oh Mal. How can one be such an ass? He is the most boring character in this entire series. I cannot ship Alina and Mal because I literally cannot find a good point to say about Mal and can’t see why she likes him?! He’s trash.
I don’t even know if Mal is supposed to just be unlikeable or whether he’s just badly written? I know some people like him but HOW? He does nothing. Serves no purpose. Just whines and whines.

Nikolai: THANK THE GODS FOR NIKOLAI! The poor dude must have a bad back from holding the entire plot of this book. He was by far the best part of this book and if he hadn’t have been introduced I think I would’ve died from boredom. He is more interesting and likeable than Alina and Mal combined.

The Darkling: 
I love The Darkling. I do. But he is SO UNDER USED! Why is there not more of him in these books?! He’s interesting and actually has a personality, yet he barely appears. WHERE IS HE? GIVE ME MORE!

Rating: 3 Stars


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Books · Review

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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“Make me your villain.”

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Synopsis:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the
Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


My Thoughts:

This book exceeded my expectations completely. I read the whole thing in a day – I was completely sucked into the Grisha world. I did the ‘wrong’ thing and read the Six of Crows duology first – as everyone said it was better. Just going to put it out there, it made no difference to my reading experience. I 100% believe you can read SoC without reading the Shadow and Bone trilogy first.
Anyways, I loved the world Leigh Bardugo created and I was instantly curious to learn more. The magic system seemed intriguing and a little different to the typical magic systems in YA.
That being said, the story itself isn’t the most unique story out there. It utilises a fair few YA tropes: ‘Oh so plain girl’, ‘Chosen One’ and ‘Mysterious dark haired man’ – just to name a few. I’m not saying they’re a bad thing, they are actually done pretty well but there’s nothing overly original about it.

I really enjoyed this book, as I mentioned, I read it in one day. It’s an addicting read that you’ll fly through.


Characters:
Alina: She’s nothing overly special. She’s not a bad protagonist but she’s not great either. I did enjoy her perspective at times. I preferred it when she was away from Mal, I feel like he makes her more annoying? I don’t know.

Mal: Boringgggggg. Seriously. I am not a fan of this guy. I just don’t see the fuss about him and he’s a bit of a dick. He’s grumpy and mad, constantly. He’s such a trashcan.

The Darkling: This guy, however, had me enchanted from the start. Obviously, being super late to the Grisha hype, I had heard loads of things about him. Everyone loves The Darkling. Everyone. I didn’t think he’d grab me as much as everyone said but he did. It took approx. 0.002 secs for me to fall in love.

 

Rating: 4 Stars


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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Book Wish List (aka books I desperately need) | Top 5 Wednesday

top5weds
Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme, GoodReads group here with all the topics + discussion!
This week’s topic is: Book Wish List


Six of Crows Collectors Edition by Leigh Bardugo

This is just so beautiful. Look it at. It even has red sprayed pages??!! So beautiful.
So many collectors editions of books I love have just come out.
Maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to get this for Christmas. (Please Santa)


Graceling 10th Anniversary Edition by Kristin Cashore

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Graceling was one of the first YA series I read because of the online book community, it will forever have a special place in my heart. It’s its 10 year anniversary and they release this beautiful edition of it. Which I desperately need.


Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

I love Star Wars, especially the Star Wars ladies. The illustrations look so beautiful, from what I’ve seen, I really, really need to pick this up. I love learning anything and everything I can about Star Wars so this is definitely a must for me!



Fire and Blood by George RR Martin

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GRRM has finally released a book relating to ASOIAF. It’s no Winds of Winter… unfortunately. BUT IT WILL DO. I love House Targaryen so I cannot wait to learn more about their history. It’s a pretty thick book and it has illustrations!! Excited!



Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

This has been on my TBR ever since it was announced, yet I do not own it yet. I have no idea why I haven’t read and bought this (and its sequel) but I just haven’t. I seriously need to, it sounds amazing. Everyone raves about it and I know I’ll love it too.


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