I enjoyed this book and was able to get through it pretty quickly. I liked to progression of Alina and Mal, both were forced to accept the reality of their situations which was nice to see in a YA novel.
I did have a little issue with the happily ever after being worked in. I liked the final climax of the series and thought the relationship between Alina and the Darkling was appropriate. I liked the relationship between Nikolai and Alina as well. I think I was a little disappointed with the fact that the two characters, Mal and Alina, ended up not following through on the path that was set. This whole series revolved around the reality that they weren't going to get a HEA and then they did. To me it just felt forced, like a realization set in for Bardugo that a YA audience would want the HEA so she gave it to them. I would have much preferred an ending where sacrifice is not always rewarded by getting everything you wanted in the end regardless. An ending where the sacrifices are made because there is no other choice and life moves on regardless of your dreams.
It's not that I wasn't happy with this book or the series as a whole. I just would have preferred a more grown up ending for this tale. I think both characters could handle it.
I did appreciate the handling of the Darkling. Making Alina somewhat sympathetic toward him was smart and kept me invested in him as more than the bad guy. Nikolai was just awesome.