Leigh Bardugo Book Signing | King of Scars Book Tour

That’s right, my peeps: I went to Leigh Bardugo‘s book signing for King of Scars at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA on January 30th, and it was a great time!

So I happened to be perusing Twitter one day some time in December and saw that Leigh was going on a book tour for King of Scars. Well, authors don’t always come to my state, so I was like, “There’s no way she’s going to come here.”

And then I looked on her website and, lo and behold, there was a tour stop date listed for not only my state, but also for my favorite independent bookstore. Of course I had to go! I’d be stupid not to. (Plus it was my half day at work, so I didn’t have to rush around to get out to the Boston area on time).

So I drove to Alewife, which is a parking garage in the city, and took the train in (which I love doing; I’m such a tourist). Mind you, the polar vortex was coming in that night, so I knew it was going to be cold, but wasn’t expecting what came once I left the store. Anyway, I’m enjoying my trip in, and I get there about quarter after 5PM, which was when people could line up to get in.

I saw a few cosplays as I made my way around toward the end of the line… which was wrapped around the block and down the street a bit. Fun stuff.

It might not look like a long line, but trust me, in 10 degree Fahrenheit weather standing outside for over a half hour? It was long enough.

So once I finally got into the store, the way they had the lines sectioned was by group: group one had green wristbands and were guaranteed seats downstairs where the Q&A and signing would be, the blue wristbands would be in the standing section of the downstairs, and then orange bands would be in a line upstairs, but still hear all of the event going on and such.

I got a blue wristband, which meant I got to stand in the back for when the event took place. Whoop whoop!

So when I finally get into the store and grab my book, there were SO many people! It was crazy! The photo doesn’t really do justice to show how many people were in there, but it was a lot.

There were stations set up around the store where you could find out which Grisha Order you fall into, as well as pins that correspond to the orders (and a Darkling one). I took the little quiz on the card and discovered I’m Etheralki! (I was secretly hoping for Corporalki, but I’ll take this one, too.) My heart says I’d be an inferni, but I’d probably be more useful as a tidemaker, who knows? I also took one of each pin because, well, why not?

If you want to take the fun little quiz yourself, here’s the card! I posted the questions below it.

Tally up the amount of A’s, B’s, and C’s, and then check to see whether you’re a member of the Corporalki, Ehteralki, or Materialki!

Mostly A’s: Corporalki, the Order of the Living and the Dead.
Mostly B’s: Etherealki, the Order of Summoners.
Mostly C’s: Materialki, the Order of Fabrikators.

The next two stations included a polaroid that you could take against a King of Scars backdrop, and then have it taped into the passport you could get at the station after that! I thought it was really nifty, and you can use the passport at other Leigh Bardugo events and get the stamp that corresponds to that event! Pretty exciting, not gonna lie.

So then I go downstairs and I’m waiting for the event to start, and, well, let me just show you where I was and how quickly it filled up:

Yeah… I was at the very back by the employee door. It was fine, though, because Leigh actually walked out from behind me through that door, and all of us in that area were awestruck and I said hello, and she said hello back, and I was super fangirling internally at that point. XD It was great.

So then the Q&A starts and it was so much fun! The staff did a great job of maintaining the crowd and having the event run smoothly, and Leigh was so funny! She’s got a great personality, and even when she speaks it’s like she’s telling a story. We laughed, we gasped, we made sure that no spoilers were given (one almost was for Crooked Kingdom, but Leigh asked if there were still people that haven’t read it ((aka me and a few others)), so she refrained from saying anything too spoilerly, thank god).

It was a really fun time. I ended up getting King of Scars signed and personalized, as well as Leigh’s other new release, The Severed Moon: A Year-Long Journal of Magic, which is a journal that consists of prompts and quotes for 365 days to spark your creativity in writing, and I also got my passport signed.

And even though I didn’t get these signed, I also bought the paperbacks of the Shadow and Bone trilogy in the new covers because I think they’re gorgeous and I’ve been debating with myself for months on whether or not I should get them, soooooo, here were are.

All-in-all, it was a very fun event and I had a really great time. I plan on finishing Six of Crows soon, then Crooked Kingdom, and then jump into King of Scars.

Let’s Chat!

Have you been to a book signing recently? How was your experience? Are you excited to read King of Scars? Which Grisha Order do you belong in based on the quiz? Let me know all of the things!

Ruin and Rising Book Review

ruinandrisingTitle: Ruin and Rising
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #3
Authors: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Square Fish
Publish Date: April 18, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 427
Format: Paperback

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.

Okay, so, it’s been a hot minute since I last read the second book in this trilogy, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this third installment – which I did enjoy it! I remember not really liking the first one as much as I had hoped, but the second one was much more enjoyable, and I think that this one was even better than that.

So, as a whole, this book did really well in delivering what was to come that the plot had been leading up to and telling us would happen from page one of the first. There was fighting, loss, exhaustion, hope, and I thought that the characters themselves were doing what they could to just survive, let alone plan and plot to overthrow the Darkling.

Let me say that Alina’s character still annoyed the crap out of me. Like… I don’t know, she was very ready to not trust her friends at the drop of a hat, and I just didn’t get it? This mostly happened at the very beginning of the book in the first few chapters where she had a page of inner monologue with herself about if she should trust them over the man from the white cathedral who was creepy af. I just… didn’t get it. But I was glad that she got over that and actually took initiative a few times and didn’t rely so heavily on others.

But, you know, good things don’t last forever. I mean, I thought she did well for the situations she was in, but sometimes I wanted to slap her upside the head.

Anyway, I really liked the ragtag team of people that they had going and how they worked together through it all. Though not everything went according to plan, everyone did their hardest to keep each other safe.

I was not, however, expecting the betrayal, but when I reflected back I could see signs that would lead up to the person turning them over to the Darkling.

I also was not expecting what happened to Nikolai to actually be happening. Like, when I was reading that whole sequence, I thought it was just a dream. But nope, it was actually happening, and I remember reading it and going, “Oh shit.” Just my mouth was hanging open in disbelief at what was happening.

And Baghra. The more I got to know about her character, the more I grew to like her, and I will say that I think she was one of the best parts of this story.

And then we have the search for the Firebird. I loved the descriptions used to show the reader what the forests looked like, how there was a tale behind why the trees looked the way they did, at why the waterfalls glowed gold, and then the bird itself – it was such a great scene and one of my favorites in the book. I thought the way it was described really captured what exactly the characters were seeing and painted the picture vividly for the reader.

I also was no expecting the reveal of the final amplifier and boy, let me tell you: I was shook. But also not completely surprised? Just… okay, I was surprised, but I think judging by the back story given by Baghra earlier in the book really helped to paint the whole picture. I actually liked this part of the book and I liked how everything from previous tellings were piecing together for the final moment.

Which, speaking of, this was my biggest gripe of this book: the fight scene – the final battle with the Darkling – was incredibly underwhelming at the end. I was super into it throughout the whole thing, at how it was going down, and then… it just ended so simply? Like… it almost felt like a cop-out. I wanted there to be more stress and for Alina to be more distraught, and I just felt like it fell kind of flat there in those moments.

The scenes after were like a nice wrap up and a way to lead the reader to form their own questions and to hope for more story – which we’ll be getting when King of Scars comes out, but still.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. This book was highly enjoyable and I thought that the descriptions of the sceneries were some of the best elements.

And no, I’m not mad about the final pairing; I’m actually glad it happened because I thought they were good for each other.

If you’ve read the first books and liked them, definitely read this one. It provides a nice wrap up to an epic journey and I think you’d really enjoy it.

I rated this book 4.5 stars.

Shadow and Bone Book Review

shadowandbonesTitle: Shadow and Bone
Series: Grisha Trilogy #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Pages: 372
Format: Purchased Paperback

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.

This story was fast-paced, stunning, and very addicting.

Of course I had heard about the hype surrounding the Grisha trilogy for a while now. There are many, many people who are rabid fans for it and I think I understand the hype now. It was so gripping and the writing was easy to read, full of fascinating world details, beautiful names, interesting magic, and characters that were… well, they were interesting.

Alina Starkov is an orphaned girl who grew up in an orphanage where she felt lonely a lot of the time and where she didn’t really know who she was. I thought that she was a good character and was trying to figure out her place in the world, but she didn’t stand out to me. She dealt with a lot of problems of being forced into a world that she never thought she had any business in and she adjusted to it pretty quickly (well, a few months time, but still), and there were, of course, some hiccups and revelations along the way. I’m more interested to see what will happen with her in the next book because I felt like she had a lot of potential in this one and it just wasn’t quite reached. Like, she was there, but not quite. Her power was interesting and developing and I wanted to see more of that development and how she felt about it. I was very impressed with her and being able to reclaim herself in the end over the Darkling’s powers because, oh man, let’s talk about him next.

The Darkling is a mysterious figure who’s ability is to create darkness. I was wary of him in the beginning because I thought he couldn’t be trusted, and then when he was trying to gain Alina’s trust as time went on, and the kiss? I was skeptical of him after that. I’m all for romance, but that felt rushed and out of place even for me. And then we learn a bit more about him from Baghra and I’m like, “I KNEW IT!” I’m not sure where he truly stands, if what he’s thinking and doing are truly to bring Ravka peace, but I do like the line, “Make me your villain.” Because it’s true. He’s probably the most interesting character in that regard because I want to know more about his side of the story from him.

Mal grew up with Alina as an orphan, and he grew into a very good looking young man with a cocky attitude. He ends up in the First Army as their best tracker, able to “find a rabbit out of a rock,” and he is probably my favorite. He wasn’t overly complex or anything, but he touched a place in my heart and I’m rooting for him in more ways than one. As a human, he doesn’t have any powers, but I like that he uses his smarts and instincts a lot more than the Grisha do and I’m interested to see where it’ll lead them in the next book.

There were other side characters, such as Genya, whom I really liked and I thought had many sides to her. She understood court politics and I think was really becoming a friend to Alina. And then there was Baghra and I wasn’t sure what to make of her and, frankly, I’m still unsure. The Apparat is a very mysterious character and I’m wondering what he’ll do or be in the next books.

The biggest downside I had with this book was the pacing. I felt the pacing was really off, for some reason, like it was all being very rushed. I felt like I didn’t get enough time with Alina, that I didn’t get to see enough of her explore her powers, explore herself, and explore the world. I wanted more, and I felt that the pacing resulted in there not being enough to really grasp in regards to that.

And, like I said, I felt that all of the characters didn’t reach their full potential that I was so hoping for in this novel. I felt like they were so close – just a sentence or two away from really doing something amazing – but I felt like I didn’t see it. Not to say that I didn’t love the characters, because I do, but I just wanted more.

The other thing was I felt like the first half of the story wasn’t as memorable as the second half. I mean, it was still good and it obviously built up to what the rest of the plot lead to in the story, but I just haven’t grasped it fully like I have the second half.

I think the strongest element this story had going for it was the world. The world building was absolutely phenomenal and I loved it. From the vast lands, the magic, the cities, the Fold, everything was well thought out and described. It was very richly detailed and very easy to picture. I also like the map and referencing back to it because there was a lot of traveling going on, so it was nice to see just where cities and locations were.

Overall, I really enjoyed this first book. Though I had a few minor problems with it, it was still highly enjoyable and addictive and I can’t wait to read the next book.

I rate this 4/5 stars and recommend it!