So the second installment in Bardugo's YA teen romancey fantasy (or is that fantasy romance?), is actually better than the first (thank goodness).
Now, you still get what you think you are going to get - a lot of cheesy angst ridden "young adults" with their feelings all over the place, but the story keeps it's pace up, it does not suffer from the dreaded middle-book-itis, which almost convinced me to give up an extra star.
Alina's character actually shows some growth (though Mal's does not). We have a witty new character to throw into the love triangle so that we're now a love quadrangle. There were limited Darkling in this book, which was a shame (most of the time he appears as a Harvey a la Farscape). And poor Genya.
The bad-Russian bits still make me cringe.
So the story? Alina and Mal escaped to West Ravka last time around, and we start our story right where the previous novel left off. They are found, and go on adventures in the sea and air. They meet a cast of interesting characters, particularly the smooth, witty, and sex-ay Sturmhong. After Alina has her second amplifier, she's off to the capital to lead the Second Army and deal with some politicky stuff (nd angst). And then shit goes down and we end the second book much like we did the first. Things happen. They won/lost, and we're on to the next chapter, so to speak.
I nearly did not pick up this book, since I was so disappointed in the first, but I'm not sad I wasted a credit on this book. I'll probably actually get around to the third. Because Firebird!