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Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 27, 2016)
Page Count: 560 pages
It took me a while to get into the first book, but since I knew all of the characters fairly well for this sequel
The Plot: I dived right in and got immediately engrossed in the plot woven with many masterful plans by Kaz. I was thoroughly engrossed to the end and there were many twists that had me reeling. The ending was satisfying for the most part. I felt like the most of the characters' endings were good. My biggest complaint for this section was a character death. I know why the author did it, to show that her main characters aren't invincible, but it felt like a cop-out because it happened almost randomly. AND IT RUINED MY SHIP, MAN!
The Characters: Knowing more about Kaz I definitely enjoyed him more in this book, but my favorite characters had to be Nina, Inej, and Matthias. I love their powers and Nina and Matthias have particularly good characters arcs with a neat twist to Nina's abilities on account of jurda parem. The villains were definitely formidable and scary in their own ways and good opponents for the main characters. I particularly liked getting to know Wylan better. I love how he shows that just because you have dyslexia that doesn't by any means mean you're stupid.
The Setting: Unlike the previous book, this one was almost entirely set in Ketterdam. There were only some brief scenes in the country. Both settings were very well fleshed out. I felt like I was there.
Epic Things: The grisha always the grisha and also some great cameos from the Grish Trilogy which I know get because I went back and read those. XD
The Theme: There were a lot of themes. I felt like each character had their own, but I think Matthias's was my favorite. He learned to think for himself instead of what the popular ideal is. He turned his devotion for one thing to help others. I love Matthias.
Content Cautions: I wouldn't recommend this or the previous book to anyone under sixteen. There's three gay characters and a gay ship that sails. There's also kissing between males multiple times. There's mention of orgies, molestation, and sexual abuse. There's a good bit of gore including spilled brain matter, broken bones, gritty brawls, people burned to death, and torture. At one point there are also animated corpses. H*** is used over thirty times, d*** over ten, b***** and ba***** over five times, a** five times, and there is one use of the f-word.
What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:
1.) Scents Triggering Flashbacks - When Kaz smells anything remotely like sickness or corpses that triggers flashbacks to his past. I feel like for some reason books who portray PTSD characters primarily have them triggered with sight or sound, but not smell as much. As someone who has dealt mildly with PTSD, smell has triggered me the strongest. Our olfactory nerve is strongly connected to memories in our brains.
How this can be applied to writing: Don't forget the power of smell for description and for flashbacks!
Conclusion: Up until the last few pages of the book, I was going to give this story four or five stars, but that ending bumped that down to three. I enjoyed it, but I can't get over that character death. XD
Other Books I Reviewed by This Author:
Six of Crows