The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Hey! So today, instead of splitting this up into three reviews I'm going to review all three books in this trilogy on one post, and obviously, there are spoilers ahead so watch out.

Shadow and Bone:

So this is the first book in the trilogy and it involves a lot of spectacular world building, honestly I was immersed in this world and the war they facing and with magic. Also, despite all this world building and introductions to new and strange beings and plots and ideas, I never once got confused or was desperately trying to catch up with the characters - Baradugo was completely in control.

We're also introduced to several brilliant characters in this book including The Darkling, Mal and Alina whom creats a beautiful love triangle which isn't your traditional YA love triangle, so please don't let this discourage because Mal and Alina's romance is so much more. My one annoyance is that they're portrayed as best friends who fall in love, but that's just because I have several close who are guys. however I'm completely understanding of this trope in YA and I don't hate it when it's done well - like this one was.

Even more important than the romance though is Alina's character development, she's so feeble and weak at the start of the book, but by the end she has grown into herself and that's not because she's in love, or male characters have pushed her there, it's all about her own powers and beliefs. Even more complex as a character was The Darkling, there's so many parts to this character and you never fully get to understand him in this first book, and that's wonderful, because he's been given time to grow and time for us readers to learn and watch him develop; I was sure when I read this he would fuel many interesting plot twists to come as he did in this book. And then there was Mal, he doesn't get as much time to develop in this book so we don't see much development but at the same time he's very real as a character, and someone you can easily swoon over.

This book was more than I expected it to be and I loved it.

Siege and Storm:

So I enjoyed this a little less but I still loved this book a lot, one of the problems I had with this book is how quickly The Darkling found Alina and Mal - like seriously? Could I not enjoy and watch the struggles they faced develop them more? It just seemed unrealistic to me, however that was my biggest problem and it's not that bad.

Say goodbye to the old weak Alina from Shadow and Bone, this Alina is a badass. The way she dealt with taking that amplifier and the way she dealt with the challenges she faced with The Darkling overall was amazing, I felt like I was reading about such a strong woman, and she really grew into herself. That doesn't mean she didn't have flaws, the way she became consumed by the idea of a third amplifier is a mayor flaw, however at times greed is also a flaw we all experience, and it just made more real, and I just want to have the same level of badassery that she has now. Alina has become far more strategical advanced as a character and the ideas she puts forward are brilliant, plus you've got to love that dry sense of humour she has as a narrator.

As well as this, you find yourself kinda falling for the dark guy in this, don't get me wrong I know how horrible The Drakling is - but you kinda love him like you love Loki. He's very interesting and compelling character in this book too, and completely and utterly dark and mysterious - especially with these new creatures and powers he has. I also found myself falling a little out of love with Mal in this book, he seems to understand nothing but everything at the same time, I completely understand why he acts the way he does to Alina but it doesn't make it right. I just wanted to shake both Mal and Alina because they're both in the wrong in this couple fight, and they are completely blind to each other's feelings.

The new characters are amazing in this book, which includes Sturmhond (Nikolai) who completely swept Mal to the side and is my new fictional character to swoon over, he's brilliantly witty and he made me laugh at loud so many times - he really made this book, without him it would have been really quite 'meh'. The crew we're also introduced too, in particular, the two new twins are brilliant. Despite them being more minor characters, the twins are extremely complex and bring about a fantastic plot twist at the ending and I'm so disappointed with myself I didn't see it coming.

This second book is amazing, and the new characters just make beautiful, yet it's not as good as the first merely because I never seem to enjoy the second book as much and the beginning was a bit 'meh' for me.

Ruin and Rising:

Okay so this was my favourite, mainly because of the ending which other's didn't like as much, and as well as this was so such suffering for the characters and it was so fast paced, and because of that I felt like there was this was a scene that was very really - which is what you want from a book.

Alina is this book is still annoying, she has her flaws and never seems able to be ruthless enough to win or gain any real advantage, and boy, there's a load of emotional turmoil. But again, this just makes her more real and drives the story a lot better than a ruthless killer would. I'm glad Alina never seems heartless in these books, otherwise I wouldn't be able to enjoy reading about her as much and fulling immersing into the world as I did when reading this. Mal continues to be iffy, and I don't feel like I should complain about him trying to be the self-sacrificing hero still, because that's obviously who he has become; but the other characters remain to brilliant, and I would kill to talk to Nikolai.

There are so many deaths in this book I am not going to bother to list them all, but the one disaster that really, really hurt me was the destruction of Nikolai. I cried so badly when I released the full significance of what had happened to him, the best parts of Nikolai was his humour and wittiness, and that was destroyed in a matter of seconds an that's a real tradegy - because in that moment he was lost. However, thank the heavens Alina restored him, because I could not have faced an ending without a human Nikolai. The other character that made me suffer a lot whilst reading this was The Darkling and his background, The Darkling is a vastly complex character whose lived for thousands of years and that is truly represented in this book, particularly at the ending, and we finally understand him when he utters that sentence,

The romances in this book were also spectacular, I know some f us could be annoyed by all the options Alina faced with her possible love interests, and I may not who heartedly ship her with Mal - he really is the best option for her. Nikolai will never have time to love as she so desires because the Kingdom will always come first, and with The Darkling, well, we all know what The Darkling is like. However, Mal and Alina's relationship did annoy me in this book, but it's a very real relationship where most of the problems are caused by a lack of communication, and doubt at each other's loyalty and feelings. However, the relationship that stole the show for me was David and Genya, both of these characters have been iffy in the past two books, but together they're beautiful and I very much love the care shown towards each other despite neither of them being 'desirable', it's not a typical YA romance.

The plot twist I saw coming, I mean it's not that hard to figure out what the third amplifier really was. Regardless of this, it was still a grand plot twist and I couldn't figure out how Alina and Mal were going to solve this. Now this plot twist ties in a lot with the ending of this book, and I've seen a few people criticise this, either because they don't want Mal and Alina together, or because Alina basically gave up her powers for a guy. However, I loved this ending, I don't see Alina giving up her powers for a guy, I see her intentionally giving up the guy to defeat the bad guy and save thousands of lives - it wasn't her fault she lost her powers and Mal was revived, instead she was trying to do the brave thing. I also really love that both Alina and Mal lost there powers, it was a bitter-sweet and that's what makes it brilliant - it was the brave thing to do. Plus, out of everyone Mal was the best choice as a partner to Alina as he was the one that was going to treat her the best and love her the way she wanted.

Overall I really loved this trilogy, and when I finished I wasn't sure if I did because of character's flaws but upon reflection, I've realised the purpose of this was to make them seem human and not to play into the idea of 'the chosen one'. Plus, that ending was brave and beautiful, and no other ending would have felt right.


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