3.5 stars. I liked this. Just not as much as the first one. I really like it when each book in a series has a strong A-plot that is set up early and gets resolved by the end of the book, even as the story deepens and explores the over arching relationships and goals. A plot that is easy to summarize like Harry is forced to compete in the dangerous Goblet of Fire tournament. This book, well, I felt like I was sitting around waiting for something to happen at times. I thought at first that it might be about finding the firebird but that didn't really become a thing until late in the book. So while I loved Nikolai and felt for Alina and Mal, there was a lot of feeling like I had to get through this book to get to the good stuff in the next one. Especially given the dynamite ending.