2019, Books, Favorites, reviews

The Grisha Trilogy (aka Shadow and Bone Trilogy)

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2012
These covers were published in 2017

Synopsis: Alina’s dormant powers awaken after a near-death experience in The Fold with her best friend Mal. Alina trains with the Grisha that are led by The Darkling, however, secrets and mysteries are about to unravel and create chaos across Ravka.

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2013

Synopsis: After a battle in The Fold, Alina and Mal barely escape across the sea. Believing Alina to have died, the Apparat sets up a cult that follows Sankta Alina, the Sun Summoner. However, Alina and Mal return to try and save Ravka with the help of the Privateer Sturmhond.

Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2014

Synopsis: The Darkling is set on destroying Ravka and it is up to Alina, Mal, Nikolai and their armies to stop him. Histories and secrets are revealed that may change the tide in their favor, but at what cost?

I love this series! It’s my second time reading it and I think it was even better this time around. There are two spin-off duologies so far, a plethora of short stories, and a tv show that is currently in production!

The world is so interesting and built very well. The magic is believable and described easy enough to understand, even if one isn’t an experienced fantasy reader. The histories, mythologies and backstories are very intriguing and are one of my favorite parts about this series. It creates a rich world and this has a lot of potential as a tv series. I hope they do it well!

What I liked: There are tons of action scenes and each book moves pretty fast. I’ve often found that trilogies slow down in the second books and sometimes appear as filler, but this doesn’t do that. There is a lot happening and the characters are constantly kept on their toes. The magic is really interesting and it continues to change and improve throughout the books. Bardugo uses actual science phenomenons like light bending to make it even more realistic, which I think is cool. Additionally, the weapons are a combination of modern and historic items, giving this world the unique feel that it’s not medieval nor futuristic. Finally, the characters are funny, the banter isn’t cringey and the relationships are dynamic. Often I’ve found YA novels to include lots of silly dialogue but this was fun and I enjoyed it. The romance was a big part but it also moved the plot along, which was nice. By the way, Nikolai Lantsov is one of the best characters and I am so looking forward to his duology!

What I didn’t like: There isn’t much but most of it is based on overused character tropes. You’ve got the sickly, plain, boring, sad, little peasant girl who is The Chosen One. Her best friend is gorgeous and she doesn’t see why he likes her and keeps questioning it, which does get a little tedious and obnoxious. You’ve got the giant, strong warrior who is actually a softy; you’ve got the beautiful but super mean girl; the nerdy scientist; the shallow and beautiful slave who actually has more depth; the shallow prince; the evil king; the villain who has good intentions; etc. They just get old after a while. However, I still like each character and the way Bardugo wrote them wasn’t groan-inducing or distracting.

Final thoughts: I just love this series and I encourage everyone to read it. With Bardugo executive producing the show, I really hope it stays true to the series and brings it all to life for us. Go read it!

TV series announcement: https://deadline.com/2019/01/netflix-orders-shadow-and-bone-series-leigh-bardugo-grishaverse-fantasy-novels-1202532783/

Spin-off duologies:

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