A series I can’t get enough off
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Indigo Books, UK
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 19th June, 2014
As a book blogger/reviewer how many times has a book being described as addictive and captivating well and truly is? The Grisha Trilogy is the embodiment of the above and more. Much more.
It is one of those series which as a YA reader is a must read. It is series which grabs hold of you by the neck and wrings every emotion out until you are a blabbering, quivering, drooling mess on your sofa. It is high fantasy at its best and I can guarantee that you will not regret picking up this book.
The world building has deep Russian influence, with its beautiful language and its culture so intricately woven in. I love how little pieces of the culture are thrown in like the banya, the kvas, the amazing food which drops you right into the Grisha world.
The story is about an orphan girl, Alina who lives in Ravka, a country rife with war and unrest. She is working as a mapmaker in the army with her childhood friend, Mal. She obviously holds a candle for him who is completely oblivious to her feelings. It is the day they will be crossing the Shdaow Fold, which is an area of Darkness in the middle of Ravka, through which no light penetrates and is the home to the man-eating vicious Volcras. Their army is comprised of two sections, the first Army where Alina works and then the Second Army which consists of the Grisha. Grisha are people born with power, if it’s magic or anything else no one quite knows but it gives the beholder huge power over elements like air and water. After a bloody accident it turns out that Alina had powers after all. She is the Sun Summoner, one who procreates light and perhaps may be the salvation that their country has been looking for.
In comes the Darkling, the leader of the second army whose power, you guessed it right, is to produce darkness. He whisks hers off to the Grand Palace to live with her fellow Grisha and fulfil the destiny he is convinced she is destined for.
The above is the nitty gritty of how the story starts but let me tell you, the writing is exquisite and then story and plot just simply pull you in. Leigh Bardugo was the pied piper and I like the mice, followed her to my demise. I loved the glamorous, politics filled world of the Grisha. Watching it from the eyes of an orphan who had nothing before and the whole world was at her feet now. Her conflicts and her inner doubts battling it out was like cake for me.
The best part of this series, undoubtedly, is the Darkling. It has been a while since a YA character has been written with so much thought, depth and fascination. I was enthralled to say the least. It may or may not be a spoiler that he is a morally ambiguous character. Some may call him even the villain of this series and perhaps he was. Saying that, no villain has taken over my mind like he does. He has this presence about him that even if he is only mentioned in a scene you can feel his shadow, his essence drawing you in. When I think logically, I know he is a bad person but underneath that, Leigh manages to give her readers a peak into what he was and what he could have been. Redemption is used as a bait and I am all over it. He is a bad boy of YA literature but not the bike riding, tattooed hunk who had been abused a s a child. No, he is a leader, powerful, mysterious all- knowing and pretty to boot. He wears black and uses his power as a cloak around him. You want to get closer to him, feel his vulnerability, know his secrets be the one he confides to. He is the flame that this puny reader as at this point being referred to as the proverbial moth is drawn to.
The world and the Grisha are beautifully crafted with a whole class system and various powers and their ranking makes the world so much realistic.
There are a fantastic range of side characters whom I began loathing at the start but ended up loving towards the end. The romance was sweet and we have three, yes three, absolutely delightful love interests for Alina. Mal the sweet and protective childhood friend, Nickolai, the charming roguish prince and the forbidden fruit, in the form of the delicious Darkling, who perhaps knows Alina the most.
My favourite book out of the three is Shadow and Bone and despite not quite loving Ruin and Rising as much as Shadow and Bone, I’m in smitten with this series.
I cannot recommend this series enough. If you like fantasy, adult or YA, want to read something unique which will make you desire the unforgivable bad boy with a twist and a story which is riddled with emotion then this series is for you. I love this series so much that you don’t want to stand next to me in book shop just looking at the Young Adult shelf you better have already read this series or else I will thrust these books at you and order to read it.
The final book, Ruin and Rising released in the UK on the 19th of June, 2014, by Indigo
The first book, Shadow and Bone was published as The Gathering Dark