Rating: 5 stars
This series is set in a world similar to our own other than a race of people called Grisha who possess different powers, falling into three categories (Corporalki, Etheralki and Fabrikator). These Grisha are treated in very different ways depending where in this world they are, in Ravka they are revered, in Fjerda they are killed. This is the story of girl discovering she is Grisha and everything that follows from this information.
I have been wanting to get stuck into a good fantasy series for a while now and this was just so perfect for that. I loved every single second of reading this series, the characters, the plot but most importantly the world. I fell utterly in love with this world! This world was just gorgeous, the Grisha and the nature of their powers, the political issues, the completely varied cultures and then possibly my favourite thing, the utter confusion about what era this is set in! They have swords etc like most fantasy books, but also guns and they drink coffee as well as eating herring! It is just such an intriguing and confusing mix of what you would associate with classical fantasy and then what we are used to in our daily lives!
Shadow and Bone
I’m not sure which book was my favourite in this series, but if I absolutely had to choose I think it would have to be this one! The way the world was built up and how we learnt about the Grisha’s powers and the training they go through I just found utterly fascinating and honestly I could have read a whole trilogy about that, let alone the amazing plot!
I’ll start by talking about the characters. I know this book used the very common “chosen one” trope but I absolutely love this trope so I do not mind at all! Plus the girl that Leigh Bardugo chose for this was so endearing, and by no means perfect! Everything that happened to her came as a complete shock and she reacted exactly how most teenage girls would. She got sucked into the world and made bad choices and was coerced by people in positions of power, resulting in her morals being compromised.
The plot throughout this book was absolutely fascinating, there were so many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, ad I really enjoy how each new piece of information was revealed. As the book was from a first person perspective we learnt the information along with Alina, and I liked how it was only from one perspective so when Alina was worried about Mal the reader isn’t like an omnipotent being who knows what is happening on both sides, instead we worry along with Alina.
Another aspect of this book I loved is how Genya’s character brings a feeling of realism to everything that is happening. The book is set in a different world but still these two girls will be catty and have a laugh and dress up for fun! It is so realistic to the relationships between friends in our world, and I love ow that was carried through to a fantasy land.
Seige and Storm
This was a fantastic continuation of the series and although it was possibly my least favourite book in the series I still absolutely loved it. The character development especially was really interesting. I really enjoyed how again Aline gets caught up on the wrong side of the battle, although trying to do the right thing it causes a lot of other problems. Also, Alina’s power develops significantly in this book and the discussion of her need for increased power and what she will do to gain that really comes into play. In this her morals really get distorted, she doesn’t become the villain but starts showing a lot of similarities to him, as she strives for very similar things.
There are also new characters introduced who are just fantastic, especially Nikolai, who was the epitome of charming whilst also being an extremely frustrating person from Alina’s perspective as you can never get a straight answer out of him!
The one aspect of this book I didn’t like was the relationship between Alina and Mal. I won’t say what happens for the sake of avoiding spoilers but I just don’t think it was a good behaviour to be shown. I could see both sides but I don’t think either party handled the situation well and so I didn’t enjoy reading about it.
Ruin and Rising
This was an outstanding conclusion to this series! I was also very relieved that everything wrapped up nicely although I didn’t necessarily like how everything ended.
Again I thought the plot was very clever, especially to do with how Grisha power works. The details of this were utilised a lot in this book and it was truly fascinating. I loved how well thought out Grisha power is and how it changes over time and in different circumstances, it added a lot of depth to the world. I also loved how the need for Grisha to use their power drives them, specifically with Alina. She became almost obsessive with gaining more power, but not because she wanted it, because her body felt like she needed it, she felt incomplete without it.
My slight complaint was the very Harry Potter-esque twist at the end, but on the other hand I didn’t mind too much, particularly as it did catch me surprise and served its purpose very well. I also wasn’t a large fan of how the relationships ended, it felt like Leigh Bardugo was aiming for the romance to end how everyone expected instead of how it felt like it actually should. This resulted in it feeling a little forced and out of place in the ending.
One thing about the series I really enjoyed was the prologue and epilogue in each book being told from a third person perspective! I loved this because it made the whole story feel almost slightly like a fairytale! It also gave a lovely introduction and ending to each book without just ending in the middle of the action, which isn’t uncommon in series.
Overall, this is one of my favourite series I’ve read and I am so excited to read more of Leigh Bardugo’s work! I am currently reading her ‘Six of Crows’ Duology which is set in the same world and I am loving it, a review should be coming soon!
– Maddie Browse