Hello! It feels like it’s been ages – sorry about that. I lost internet for ages. On the plus side, it means I have two new reviews to post because I have been doing a lot of drawing and a lot of crafting and a lot of reading as opposed to a lot of timewasting on the internet. For example, I finally finished the GrishaVerse trilogy by Leigh Bardugo!
It has been quite a while since I started the trilogy with Shadow and Bone. There are spoilers for the series, so if you don’t want to know what happened, I’d skip to the – paragraph. Have you skipped? Last chance… Ok, those who want to skip have now skipped. In the first book, peasant orphan Alina in war-torn Ravka discovers she is one of the powerful Grisha, and an exceedingly powerful one at that as the Sun Summoner. She effectively becomes a princess, training to use her powers and falling under the Darkling’s spell. As you can tell by his name, he’s not really the good guy. Turns out he wants to use these things called Amplifiers to make Alina more powerful and make himself more powerful. So Alina and her old bff Mal run away. Where they find the stag that makes the first amplifier. Everything goes arse over tits and Alina and Mal barely escape with their lives. In Siege and Storm Alina and Mal have been captured and the Darkling has Mal searching for the second amplifier on the boat of a privateer. They find the amplifier and alakazam it turns out the privateer is actually the prince of Ravka. They all go back to the palace and start to prepare the Grisha for an expected attack. When it does come, they’ve been blindsided, it’s unexpected and a lot of Grisha die. Alina nearly dies facing the Darkling. But she doesn’t quite CLOSE BOOK. Ruin and Rising is the final book of the trilogy and starts with Alina in an underground cult, all of which believe she is a living saint and worship her thusly. She, Mal and the few remaining Grisha blackmail they way to the surface in order to find the third and final amplifier that would give Alina the power to defeat the Darkling. As Alina learns the Darkling’s secrets, and forges alliances old and new, her understanding of everything will be put to the test. Just how far is she willing to go to unite Morozova’s amplifiers?
Right. So, if you wanted to skip the spoilers, start again here. As you can probably tell, I am looking back on this series with far too much mirth. I mean there was a pretty awesome plot twist towards the end of book 3 (SPOILERS!) but for the majority of it, Alina contemplates her burden and strives to do it alone when she has a perfectly good set of friends around her, Mal sulks because he’s being all noble, and I’ll be honest I love the Grisha and Nikoli. He’s awesome and actually pragmatic under his suave-ness. And I really love Tamar and Zoya, because they tend to be the more likely to say something sarcastic in response to Alina’s self-pitying.
I think I feel a little… let down but the end – I’m not sure why. I mean, it’s a fairly prototypical YA trilogy. You’ve got everything getting progressively worse and them getting more isolated ect and then BAM good always wins at the end of the story but what is Good? I’m all for a bit of predicatability, but I can’t help comparing this series to the Six of Crows books in the same universe, and I just am certain they were so much better. Alina can be very grating, and while it was a reasonably good series that I probably would have enjoyed more had I not read the SoC duology first, the truth is that I wasn’t all that fussed about finishing and finding out if Alina actually found the firebird in time. I was more finishing the series to know what happened and to find out if they fixed Nikolai and if the heartrender twins made it to the end.
The truth is I loved the world. And Leigh Bardugo is writing another trilogy from Nikolai’s point of view, although in what format I do not know. I may give the first one a try, because I liked Nikolai in this trilogy. If he becomes self-pitying and a stereotypical I Must Do This Alone hero then I may have to call it quits and keep my love for Six of Crows without expanding further.
So, to summarise, Alina annoyed me, but the series is good for all the other characters and the world building and if you want to start the Grishaverse, I’d recommend reading this series first, so it doesn’t feel a little but of a let down after the magnificence that was the SoC duology.
(In other news, my friend has just started Six of Crows and I am waiting to here if she loved it as much as I did!)