Thursday, September 4, 2014
Series Review: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising
Series Rating: 4.25/5 stars- spellbinding fantasy with a lush Russian background
Book #1's rating: 5/5 stars- I LOVE THIIIS
Book #2's rating: 5/5 stars- Ireadthatwrongright? RIIIIGHT???!!
Book #3's rating: 4.5/5 stars- a clean wrap up, but my heart...
Synopsis of Shadow and Bone (as found on Goodreads):
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 fulfill 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?
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
*there will be a small spoiler section.
The Grisha trilogy has been a fantasy series I have been nuts about ever since it came out. Actually before Shadow and Bone came out. I was dying to read it BEFORE it came out. (That's right. I was on that bandwagon before it blew up. WAAY before people even knew it existed.)
When I read it, I knew it was changing moment for fantasy. I didn't read fantasy with such rich, luscious culture and background for SO LONG, with a great idea/concept for the fantasy aspect, and ahhhhhhh fangirling.
Which leads me into a segment called: Fangirl Reactions.
Shadow and Bone:
But I mean I feel like he's going to turn out bad but like maybe not and he's so charming but but but
shit. I just kinda melted in a corner
oh okay I guess we're pulling a The Selection move here
aww crap don't do this to me
is it bad that I kind of want the other guy instead despite the fact he's like an evil Edward Cullen
well then. waiting begins. .___.
Siege and Storm:
Can we please spice this guy up a bit?
okay things just got rocky.
wooow okay nbd just slay it
OH. OH NOW THINGS ARE DIFFERENT. NOW WE'RE TALKING.
I'm starting to feel a Shatter Me romance dynamic here.
So how will this romance work out??
I MUST BE MISSING SOME PAGES RIGHT
Ruin and Rising:
FIX EVERYTHING LEIGH BARDUGO
YAAAAY BADASSNESS TO THE RESCUE
and once again the love interest makes me want to throw a rock at him for his stupid stubborn honour crap
EHHHH MY BABY HAS ARRIVED
NOOOOO MY BABY OMG PLEASE
*the moment when two of your favourite characters does shit to each other and you don't know how to feel
*awe in the continued momentum of badass powers at work
*more rock throwing at stupid honour crap
OMG. SO THAT'S.
the moment has come. omg omg omg omg
DON'T LEIGH BARDUGO
I MEAN I KINDA SAW IT COMING BUT
wait all that and-??
damn Leigh Bardugo sure knows how to work the evil charming guy
wait so that's it??
I haven't written a fangirl reaction so intensely for a while with no gifs. I forget sometimes words are best, even though gifs are fun. (at least for me words are best)
What I want to focus most on in this review is talking about the characters. I'll go over the rest of the stuff a little later.
Alina: I liked Alina. I didn't think she was a particularly stand out protagonist, but she certainly wasn't an annoying one either. I enjoyed her character growth, but it again, it never blossomed into anything special for me.
Mal: He has this weird integrity and honour crap that makes me want to bitch slap him for and he's pretty much the cliché good guy you fall in love with stuff. I thought his character was bland and somewhat unoriginal. I can take this cliché if there are elements added to it but ergdfhkn HE WAS SO MEH. I only started caring for him a little more in Ruin and Rising, and where I was with his character in Ruin and Rising at the end is where I wanted to be at the latest is in the middle of Siege and Storm.
The Darkling: I was way too freaking attracted to this guy. I drooled a little in Shadow and Bone, I dropped the obsession in Siege and Storm and SHIT I ALMOST TUMBLED INTO THE DEEP END in Ruin and Rising. If Leigh Bardugo had made Mal even 20% as interesting as The Darkling, I might have given this series a solid 5.
Nikolai: Possibly my favourite character in this whole series. I can see why he could be thought as stereotypical, but he was such a welcome change from Mal's moodiness that I just loved him. He's so much fun out of all this serious, almost stiff characters in comparison to him. And somehow I feel like he had more character depth than Mal. Which is ridiculous if you read the series and think about it logically.
I also really like the side characters, but there's a) a fair amount of them and b) nothing I want to say about them that isn't a spoiler.
Characters aside, I think my next most favourite thing about these novels is the world setting. It's so rich with the Russian culture (not that I'm an expert) and it's absolutely stunning. One thing in fantasy that's really hard to do is to set up an entirely new world with non-existent places and have them work cohesively with everything else. But Leigh Bardugo did this so beautifully, almost highlighting the setting with the events.
Plot wise, it wasn't the most unpredictable, but there are a couple twists and turn here and there.
The ending. Oh the ending. I have two "sets" of feelings for it.
a) as a more critic-y reader
It wrapped up beautifully, it ended the way that fitted the characters, and it was a great end to everything. It was clean, it was explosive, it was an end well suited for the series.
b) as a fangirl
I WANTED SOMETHING ELSE. I HUNGER FOR MORE. I WISH FOR DIFFERENT ENDS.
Guys, I'm so torn about this. I really did like the ending because I think it ended the way that suited the characters the best. But personally... I wanted more. And that's the reason for the messed up rating. (for those who noticed)
scroll down now really fast
I wanted redemption for the Darkling. I wanted him to realize what he was doing and to change. And I thought that there was a chance in Ruin and Rising, as we got to know him more and more as a human (which I had hope would happen in Siege and Storm but..) and I wanted him to change for the better. I wasn't asking for him to end up with Alina or suddenly be forgiven for his crime. but for him to take the first step to change. I wanted Nikolai to have a chance. I wanted him to be a serious competitor for Alina's heart. I want a better ending for him.
I mean, those are really more fangirl demands more than anything but I feel like they matter. Especially with the Darkling, I wanted to see him change.
I wanted to meet and to get to know Aleksander.
*END OF SPOILER SECTION
For fantasy fans, I think this trilogy is a must. I think it would a great one to marathon, a really nice series to just.. indulge. The fantasy aspect in this series is awesome and the relationships, romantic and friend, are great and the world will definitely take you away. While the ending was a little disappointing for my inner fangirl, I think it was a clean ending nevertheless. Give it a try.
Posted by Carmen Yu at 11:30 AM