When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .
Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.
About the book
We follow the story of a war orphan, who despite living in a remote province, Nikan, and despite not having an excellent education, manages to pass a very difficult exam to enter the military academy in the capital. At the academy, however, she clashes with the prejudices of the empire’s elite, boys and girls of her age, but who have studied for years for this very purpose. Obviously not everyone accepts that a simple girl from a peasant province can be better than them. Here, Rin discovers that she has a power that few others have, but will she be able to use it or will it only lead to the destruction of the world?
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.
About the book
“Last” book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. It has been two months since Alina has lost her power and is locked underground along with the Apparat, Mal and all of her followers. Only a few Grishas survived and Nikolai has disappeared. The Dark One now reigns over Ravka along with his Grishas and Alina’s only chance to defeat him is to find the ultimate amplifier. But she cannot do that if she is locked underground and the Apparat treats her as someone that is incapable of everything.
In his fortress at Inuyama, the murderous warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.
Brought up in a remote village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people, Takeo has learned only the ways of peace. Why, then, does he possess the deadly skills that make him so valuable to the sinister Tribe? These supernatural powers will lead him to his violent destiny within the walls of Inuyama – and to an impossible longing for a girl who can never be his. His journey is one of revenge and treachery, beauty and magic, and the passion of first love.
About the book
Across the Nightingale Floor is first of all a Fantasy. The author bases her world on medieval Japan, but being a fantasy, it’s not historically accurate. In fact, this is not the author’s intent. I want to clarify this because many have not understood the author’s intent at all and if you read this book because it talks about Japan, the premises are wrong and therefore you cannot be angry about a wrong representation of the country.
That said, the book is Takeo’s coming-of-age story, a little boy who, one day, is deprived of his family and village. He is saved by the noble Otori who will take him with him to his house and adopt him.
The story, however, is also of Kaede, a noble hostage of a noble, Iida, who (Kaede) will have to deal with the will of the lords of the time and act as a pawn in the war between the two clans (Otori and Thoan, Iida’s clan).
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.
About the book
Second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse trilogy, the first of which I reviewed last week. We still follow Alina’s adventures, escaped from the Darklink and his plans to conquer the world. Together with Mal, her childhood friend, she embarked on a ship bound for Novyi Zem where she wants to have a new life away from Ravka, but always aware that one day she must return to save her country and the population from the plan of the Darklin.
Meanwhile, the Darklin, survived the Fold, has acquired a new and terrifying power. And he’s always looking for Alina. Alina and Mal will find a very special ally who will help them in their mission to save Ravka. Or this is the intent. Will they succeed?
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.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.
About the book
First book in the trilogy dedicated to the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo. Alina is an orphan of the war that Ravka endured with the powerful enemies that surround it and together with Mal, her best friend since childhood and also an orphan, enlists in the army. When given the command to map the Fold the two can only obey and together with their companions enter the darkness. But when attacked by the Volkras, ravenous creatures that live in the dark, and especially when Mal is in danger, a blinding light shines from Alina, a dazzling power she didn’t know she had.
All my book reviews are and will be 100% honest. I don’t get paid to write them and I don’t get “gifts” to write a good review so what I write is what I think. If I love a book, I’m going to say that, if I don’t like a book, I will write why I don’t. My critics aren’t an attack to the author, they are just how I feel about a subject or a style. See more in my Review Policy.