Series Review: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Originally Published: June 5th 2012

Format: Paperback (308 pages)

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Synopsis: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

The first thing that struck me about this book was how easily I became absorbed into the world that Bardugo had created. Having read the SoC duology, I was already familiar with what Grisha are and had heard of Ravka. This obviously helped but this book is so well written that the world is easy to visualise and follow. I love the map at the beginning of the book and this certainly helped whilst reading the book. The world-building is excellent.

I really enjoyed this book and I thought the plot was well written. Alina unknowingly unleashes her true ability whilst protecting Mal, unintentionally inducting herself into the Grisha world. I really enjoyed learning more about the Grisha and seeing how different their lifestyle is. The only thing missing for me was the cut throat action I so dearly love in fantasy books. On the whole this was quite a safe plot. It had pockets of excitement towards the end but I didn’t find myself sat on the edge of my seat as much as I would have liked to. I’m hoping this will pick up as the trilogy moves forward.

The characters!!! I loved the characters and this was one of the leading factors in me deciding to award this 4.5*’s. Alina is a great leading character and I enjoyed my time inside her head. She is a strong character but I liked seeing those vulnerable moments which made her feel so real. The only downside to her character is her persistent reliance on the males around her, but this is just an opinion. Genya is a character I feel a strange pull towards. Although she is not featured as a main character in this book, I loved her sass, strength and vulnerability. She was a real breath of fresh air in some of these chapters.

I can’t end this review without talking about the Darkling. YES! I love his character and can already feel him sneaking up the ranks of my favourite literary villains. He is completely terrifying yet addictive and I can’t help but be rooting for he and Alina.

Overall I really enjoyed this start to the Grisha trilogy. The plot was good, the characters are excellent and the world building is terrific. I can’t get enough of anything Bardugo writes!

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Originally Published: June 4th 2013

Format: Paperback (386 pages)

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Synopsis: Darkness never dies. Alina and Mal are on the run. Hunted and haunted, but together at last, they can’t outrun Alina’s past or her destiny forever. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and he needs Alina to realise his dangerous plan. There are others who would like to use Alina’s gift too. And as her power grows, somehow, she must choose between her country, her power, and her love – or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

My Rating: ★★★★★

I actually liked this book more than I liked Shadow and Bone. There was so much character development for Alina and I loved it! I also really like the way this plot is developing and I thought the new characters that were introduced were all great too.

Siege and Storm picks up where Shadow and Bone left off. Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling but it’s not long before they are back in his hands. With the assistance of the charming Sturmhond they once again make their escape from the Darkling, this time ending up back in Ravka in the Little Palace.

As far as the plot went, I felt that we made more baby steps than huge bounds. I am in love with the direction that this plot is being taken but I felt that overall the plot was a little slow in this book (must remember this is the second book in a trilogy!!). I did, HOWEVER, love the amount of information I was able to learn and soak up in this book. I learnt a lot about the Grisha and their power, I learnt about some Grisha history and I really, really care about what happens to the Grisha and Ravka. That being said, there is some serious action towards the end of this novel and I loved every second of it!

The characters continue to be incredible. Alina experiences such enormous character development in this book. I love seeing how her personality is transforming into something much more sinister at the same that her power is developing and building. I can’t wait to see where she will end up in book 3. I fell in love with Sturmhond in this book. He is such a charming little devil and I love that he is a complicated character with many faces and layers. Mal continues to be Mal. I liked him a lot more in the first book, I felt that he became a lot more whiny in this instalment, but we shall see. The Darkling was as creepy as ever (despite not physically being there for most of the book!). I also liked the addition of Tolyar and Tamar. I think they are great characters and I love their loyalty to Alina.

I loved being wrapped up in this Russain-esque world that Bardugo has created. I adore the characters and I think the plot has a strong direction.

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Originally Published: June 19th 2014

Format: Paperback (368 pages)

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Synopsis: 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.

My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Ruin and Rising takes us on a journey to locate the firebird and unite Alina with the third and final amplifier that she requires if she is to beat the Darkling. Mal, Genya, Zoya, Tolya, Tamar and David all accompany us on this journey, as well as a few others. After a plot twist that I was not expecting, Alina finally faces the Darkling in a battle of destruction.

There were a lot of things that I really liked about this book: the plot twist with the final amplifier struck me side on, I was not expecting that at all; Genya and David were the cutest; the building tension in the second half of the book as we neared the final meeting; Alina learning to manipulate and use her power more; the Darkling became even more layered than I expected him too and we actually saw quite a lot of emotion from him here and I just generally really liked the whole story.

The characters were excellent, once again. There were huge leaps of character development throughout this book. I love the way that Bardugo writes her characters. They all somehow feel relatable, even in a world so different to ours. I particularly like Genya and Zoya as characters, there is something about these women that really connects with me. Nikolai is as charming as ever and I couldn’t get enough of his interactions with Alina.

As far as the romance went (and I’m not going to spoil this!), I genuinely think that Alina could have ended up with Mal, the Darkling or Nikolai. She certainly had a connection with each of them. Despite some insta love back at the beginning of the series, I was actually pleased that the romance didn’t completely take away from the plot and actually it was a welcome part of this series.

I’ve seen quite a lot of reviews that say they weren’t happy with how this series ended. I actually think that Bardugo tied up this trilogy nicely. Most of the characters were given an ending and the final few chapters felt quite emotional. I LOVED the epilogue, I loved seeing what they (mysterious couple) had achieved with the rest of their lives and it just seemed so perfect to me.

Overall Thoughts

The Grisha trilogy has an exceptionally well built universe with an incredible cast of characters and a strong plot. I know that for as long as I shall live, I will autobuy anything and everything that Leigh Bardugo writes.

Have you read the Grisha Trilofy? What did you think? Which is your favourite book in the series?

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