In February, those of us in HQ's Teen Book Club who didn't snatch up the new Arc of the Scythe book, Thunderhead, read Shadow and Bone. After reading Six of Crows, and a couple of the most avid readers also reading Crooked Kingdom, the kids really wanted to learn more of the back story about the Grisha and their powers, as well as some of the characters alluded to in Six of Crows. So the vote was pretty much unanimous that we start up Bardugo's Grisha trilogy.
This is the first book club book that I immediately put the sequel on hold before I had even finished the first book. I enjoyed it more than Six of Crows, as I felt that some of the plot twists towards the end were not very believable. S&B has a great female lead who is decisive and interesting and while her predicament is firmly within the realm of complete fantasy, she encounters a lot of situations that I felt were common to actual teen's lives. She also acts assertively and decisively once she establishes right from wrong, rather than whining a lot about her predicament, like Mare in Red Queen. Alina is actually a pretty great protagonist, and the characters are all complex and doing what they believe to be right, even though this often places them at odds with their friends and certainly with society. The antagonist is interesting and complex, which is enormously important in my opinion, and even well into the sequel you are left unsure whether he is only doing what's right, or if he is truly evil.