As much as I want Alina and Mal to be able to escaped to a far away land but fate have a different path for Alina and for the Grisha power that she is born with. Both of them fell into the hands of the Darkling once again and they are hunting for another amplifier! this was a surprising twist and Mal will be forced to use his tracking ability to keep both of them alive.
"You two make it so easy. I prick him, you bleed" ~ Darkling
So we meet the Darkling once again but this time something more twisted and dark is going on with him and his power is becoming more sinister and harder for Alina to defeat. And aboard the whaler ship we also meet new characters like Sturmhond a privateer that was being hired by the Darkling to travel for hunting the Rusalye "Ice Dragon". Now I know there is more to this Sturmhond person than meets the eye and even Alina feels something is off with his face...hehehe! He is a smuggler by trade and he is an opportunist and generally charming but you can also sense that there is somethng ruthless and calculating with the way he speak and acts and I had my hunch of his real identity when Alina started taking notice too long of his face and I thought could it be that he is disguising as someone. And only because i just finished reading a book about main characters going undercover as smugglers so I was on the roll making my hunch as the story progress about this Sturmhond character. Then we have the twins Tolya and Tamar who are working aboard the vessel under Sturmhond. There are a lot of interesting inventions that were being integrated into the story courtesy of Sturmhond and made Alina's journey back to Ravka more exciting but most of the time they just think Sturmhond is mad with all the risk he is taking.
"Anything worth doing starts as a bad idea" ~ Sturmhond
"I guess I like fixing things. I always have" ~ Sturmhond
This guy have a lot of persona that it is sometimes hard to pinpoint when he is being sincere towards Alina. Meanwhile the Darkling was temporarily defeated by Alina as they managed to escape his clutches for the second time but this time he can haunt Alina almost everywhere it is creepy like having a delusional breakdown that can actually touch you and that is bad news people.
"There are no others like us, Alina" he whisphered. "And there never will be" ~ the Darkling
On the other hand back in the Little Palace, Alina decided to take a more active role in trying to defeat the Darkling and his army once and for all with the help of Sturmhond and the remaining Grisha who did not join the Darkling but this almost cost the relationship between Alina and Mal as they both started to drift apart and it was very heart breaking when you know that both are struggling against the reality of Alina's power and who and maybe what she is meant to be while leaving Mal behind who is desperately holding onto the girl he once knew and wanted back.
"You were like a stranger, Alina. Beautiful. Terrible." ~ Mal
There are times that i am frustrated with Alina here but I came to understand the immense responsibility of her power she have and to the people of Ravka she needs to defend for as much as she comes to hunger for the power it craves inside her, her conscience won't let her. So I love that there is still that little girl inside her that keeps her from succumbing to the ultimate power that is seducing her and she makes mistakes and is afraid and lonely and I was just so sad that it was tearing her apart and also tearing her and Mal apart.
"I have loved you all my life Mal. There is no end to our story."~Alina
"I thought you wanted to go." ~Alina
"I wanted you to ask me to stay." ~ Mal
But do not worry guys for we all know that the road they travelled together and apart may not always be easy but they will remain unbroken at the heart of it and that confrontation towards the end with the Darkling proves that Mal will never leave Alina no matter what!!! I was elated :)
I was scared that Alina may not survive that last show down with the Darkling but the book ended with not a cliffhanger but with a little hope and a conviction from our dear Sun Summoner that even when barely breathing and alive she will rise again.
"The Light won't come,Mal. My power is gone." ~ Alina
I want to see Sturmhond again in the final installment of this series, he better show his royal smug face there with a new and better Hummingbird :)
~You Cannot Violate the Rules of this World without a Price~