Friday, April 1, 2016

SERIES REVIEW: The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo

Series: The Grisha
Books in Series: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source(s): Amazon & BookOutlet

Leigh Bardugo | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Shadow and Bone Summary:

Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal--and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina's extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destroy the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart--and her country--in two.

I had read Shadow and Bone once before back in April of 2015. I loved it. I loved the world, I loved the characters, it was all pretty perfect. For whatever reason though I couldn't quite move on to Siege and Storm. I did try and probably made it through the first couple chapters but then I just put it aside and didn't pick it back up again until a couple weeks ago. I think a huge part of it is the fact that Fantasy books can be so very emotionally draining. I mean, when you pick up a Contemporary 99% of the time you're dealing with just emotions and the "will they, won't they" aspect of a story. With Fantasy, or at least the best ones in my opinion, the romance takes a backseat to everything else. There's wars, there's revolutions, there's betrayals, there's death...there's just so much and they can twist and pull at your heart, as The Grisha did with mine, that sometimes I'm just not ready for all of that.

Oh cheese and rice am I glad that I made this trilogy my Series a Month pick for March this year. There were so many highs and lows, I'm pretty sure I even texted a friend and all capsed the heck out of her when things would seem like they'd never be happy again. I also think I used the F word a lot. So, yeah. It really threw me for an emotional loop but oh man was it worth it.

Alina kicks so much ass. I think her imperfections are what made her so freaking perfect in my eyes. She was so consistently selfless throughout most of the book, but she also had her moments where you could see temptations really grab hold of her in kind of that manic way that some temptations do and I worried constantly if she would remain the Alina I loved so much, who was fierce and strong and wanted to do so much good, all the way to the end. It was pretty nerve wracking!

Mal was just...amazing. Like I am so far beyond the smitten kitten it's ridiculous. He really tugged at my heart so often. The way he always felt out of place or on the outside. I think there was only one moment where he truly disappointed me and made me pretty angry even. I'm sure if you've read this series you know exactly the moment I speak of. Oh, Mal. I think what kept my love for him so strong though was, even when he wasn't exactly happy with her, he was always protecting Alina and willing to help her even if he disagreed.

The Darkling is one of the most perfect antagonists, in my opinion. He not only inspired my hatred for most of the book, but there were moments, even though they were fleeting, where he tapped into my compassionate side. I always want to believe that people aren't born evil and that environment plays a huge role in how they come to be. Though maybe I'm just giving him more credit than he deserves. I'm not afraid to admit that I did shed a few tears for him at one point. What can I say I'm a huge sap!

I could honestly sit here for hours and talk about this series. The things I loved, the things I hated. The things I figured out early on, the things that completely took me by surprise. The characters who I wanted to hate so very much but they made me love them anyway (*gives Nikolai the look*). This series systematically ripped my heart to shreds from Shadow and Bone all the way to Ruin and Rising before finally swooping in at the end to stitch it back together again. Brilliant YA Fantasy!

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