Series Review: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Posted June 24, 2015 by lockhartbecca in Reviews / 4 Comments

Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 Stars
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Synopsis from Goodreads:

 

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.


 
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
 
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
 

Siege and Storm

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #2
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 Stars
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Synopsis from Goodreads:

 

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

 

Ruin and Rising

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #3
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 Stars
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Synopsis from Goodreads:

 

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 Review:

 

I’ve been meaning to read this series forever and now I finally have and my god, you guys were right. They are amazing. My favorite thing about these books is easily the characters. We’ve got our main character, Alina, who is a bit unsure of herself, doesn’t really know where she fits in/belongs. But Alina is strong from the start. She grew up an orphan and it’s given her a strength and resilience like no other that shines through in each and every book, but especially in this one when she’s thrown into a whole new life. Alina is brave through some of the scariest things I can imagine. She never gives up, never backs down even when her situation seems completely hopeless. She grows so much throughout the series and becomes such an incredible woman along the way. Definitely a role model for young girls to look up to.

 

Then there’s Mal, sweet Mal. Alina’s childhood and present day best friend, Mal was amazing, although a bit dense in the first book. I wanted to knock him upside the head and scream for him to just see Alina. At times he seemed completely oblivious of her and I knew they were meant for each other. But as the series went on, I just fell more and more in love with Mal. I loved watching him try to find his place in the new world he’s thrown into. He’s always fit in everywhere else, but now he has to figure out where he fits into Alina’s new life, if he fits in at all. I loved his character arc and thought that Leigh did a great job of bringing him to life.

 

And then there’s the Darkling, the villain of our series. You know what the best thing about the Darkling is? The fact that Leigh Bardugo totally mind-fucks us with the first book. She lets us slowly fall in love with him, showing us that he’s not a monster, that he genuinely cares about Alina and then she rips it all away leaving us crushed holding the pieces of our shattered hearts. Or was that just me? I fell for the Darkling hardcore just like I knew I would. And then I struggled to reconcile the character I fell in love with with the one I came to know. Oh Leigh Bardugo, you evil genius. I loved that he had multiple sides to him and that I was able to sympathize and even at times want to root for him. The Darkling is the best kind of villain, one that has a purpose for what he’s doing that the reader can understand. A villain that’s human.

 

And of course, this review wouldn’t be complete without talking about Sturmhond who we meet in the second book. A swoony pirate he is. Snarky, arrogant and devilishly handsome, Sturmhond reminded me a lot of Captain Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles and I fell in love with him. I loved how brilliant he was, how he knew just how to act in every situation. But through all his snark and charm, I also loved how big his heart was. There was a lot of depth to his character and I loved getting to know every side of him.

 

In fact, there was a lot of depth to every single one of these characters. Even the minor, secondary characters like Tolya, Tamar, Zoya, and Genya came to life on these pages. I felt something for each and every one of them and an author that can do that is very talented.

 

I also fell in love with this world of Grisha and humans. I loved the magic that the Grisha could yield and I loved hearing about the politics and structure of the country of Ravka. The world-building is fantastic, enough that I had a solid grasp on the world, but not too much to make it feel like information overload. It was a perfect balance and I never really questioned how anything worked.

 

And the plot was breathtaking. Kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time reading. I read all three books in two days because I just could not put them down. I loved that Leigh didn’t make things easy for her characters. She put them through trial after trial and just when I would think they were safe, something else would happen. I loved that her characters had to work so hard to achieve their goals because it made them that much more relatable and it made me want to root for them that much more. Overall, I can say that I absolutely loved these books and can’t wait for more from her spin-off series. I’m currently reading Six of Crows and am sure I’m going to fall in love with a whole new set of kick-ass characters.

 

 

Have you read this series? Please gush about it with me! Did you get completely torn up over the Darkling too? 

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4 responses to “Series Review: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Glad you loved this series! And I can't believe you liked Mal, there are so many haters out there, I feel like I'm in the minority with my love for him. I can't wait to read Six of Crows!!! ~Pam

  2. I'm SO HAPPY you loved this series!!! I knew you would! 🙂 I agree, the darkling definitely was an amazing villain (but I totally don't get people who shipped him — like whaaat). Gah love this series so much!! <3

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