— BLURB —
• Shadow and Bone •
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 •
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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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 •
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 thought I would review all three books in the series into one review. I read them a few months back but with life getting in the way this review is tad late but better late than never! This is going to be a an extra long one so I applaud you if you get through to the end 😀
Shadow and Bone (Book One):
I had high hopes for this series and could not wait to get started. Everyone was raving on about The Darkling and to be honest it was the main reason as to why I wanted to read it. I was hooked from the first chapter. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I instantly fell in love with Mal but I was still very much curious about The Darkling and why he was everyone’s “favourite villain”.
Let’s just say when he finally came onto the scene I could see what people saw in him. He was the strong, powerful, dark, mysterious character. But there wasn’t enough there for me to say “yeah I love the guy”, you know? He seem like a misunderstood character at the beginning until he finally showed his colours and by then I was yelling at my book thinking “people like this guy??”. I thought he was villain. A typical, evil, cruel villain. Plain and simple. If anything I wanted him destroyed. I wanted Alina to wake up and smell the coffee. I wanted Mal to finish him off. But considering this was the first book in the trilogy, I knew that wouldn’t be the case (a girl could dream, right? hehe)
I found this book to be any easy read. It was probably the book I finished the fastest from all three just because I was already loving the fictional world and of course Mal 😉 But I have to say the halfway through the book it took a turn for me. It went from a really addictive read that I couldn’t put down to a slower pace during the second half. I also started finding Alina to be a little annoying just because she was indecisive until it was too late. There was just so much frustration reading this on and I disappointed at how quickly I went from loving this book to just liking it.
Siege and Storm (Book Two):
Although this book introduces Nikolai who’s become one of my favourite characters, he wasn’t enough for me to give it a full rating. From all three books this one took the longest for me to finish just because I felt it dragged on. The pace was really slow and I have to admit the entire book was one big “plan” to go into war with the Darkling. I needed more action in the storyline. There was a lot of planning and taking the steps to make sure they were prepared (which they still weren’t) but there was no real battle. I was actually expecting this to be the book that had the big major war (or at least the beginning of it) but there was nothing like that. It was every underwhelming. 😞
I will say that the introduction of Nikolai in this book saved it for me. He was the sexy, flirty, funny privateer (almost like Captain Jack Sparrow or Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles)..you know the type. The little triangle between Alina, Mal and himself had me smirking all throughout. I wish I could explain in words why I found the storyline lacklustre. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. Usually people say the second book almost always tops the first but in this case (in opinion), Shadow and Bone was a lot more appealing.
Ruin and Rising (Book Three):
The 3rd and final book in the series. I had high hopes this book would turns things around and finish with a bang!
So, did it?
I figured the big battle between Alina and The Darkling that I thought would come in Siege and Storm would of course be in this book but I guess I blinked and missed it because one minute I was reading beasts flying around attacking people and darkness everywhere then the next The Darkling was stabbed and Alina holding onto him and comforting him in a way. It was all anti-climatic for me. It was one giant sigh but the end of that scene. I was seriously questioning if that was it?? By the end of it I realized this entire series was all about the Grisha themselves and what they could do and what they were capable of doing with their powers if there were no rules – not necessarily about The Darkling or Alina being their savior. This was just a starting off point for this world.
For those who don’t know Leigh Bardugo wrote Six of Crows which takes place in the same fictional world and I can’t help but think this trilogy has almost become a prequel? or a backstory of the world. It gives the readers an insight to it and to the people that live there. Well, that’s how I am seeing it now that I’ve read Six of Crows too.
It’s nice that the trilogy did finish off the story completely by telling us what happened to Alina and Mal and to Nikolai and what was left of the Grisha army. I love that it was all wrapped up and no questions needed to be answered. I don’t necessarily like the fact that Mal and Alina moved away from it all and decided to live a quiet life. It literally sounds nice after what they’ve gone through to finally be together but I just couldn’t picture them (especially) Alina walking away when she could’ve helped rebuild Ravka.
But hey… I’m just happy Mal lived on. Hehe.
It’s a nice series overall. I would still recommend it to YA fantasy fiction fans. I know a ton of readers who loved this series so it’s really all about preference. You’ll never know if you don’t give it a read 😊 I do love the world. It’s definitely different from any other fantasy fictional worlds I’ve read about.
OVERALL TRILOGY RATING: ♥♥♥½
Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo