Over the past couple of months, I’ve been spending most of my free time reading books that have been sitting unread on my bookshelves for the past year (or longer). Some of these books are standalone novels, while others are part of trilogies or longer series. One of the trilogies that I decided to read toward the end of April/beginning of May was Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse trilogy.
Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Grishaverse trilogy. The novel is set in the country of Ravka, which is currently at war with its neighbors, and follows the story of a soldier named Alina Starkov.
When Alina’s regiment is ordered to cross a deadly stretch of land known as the Shadow Fold, they find themselves under attack by the monstrous creatures that call the Shadow Fold home. To everyone’s surprise, however, Alina manages to frighten the creatures away by releasing a powerful burst of magic.
As it turns out, Alina is one of the Grisha – someone capable of using magic, or what they call the “Small Science.” In fact, she is what’s known as a Sun Summoner…and her talent is so rare and powerful that it’s put a massive target on her back.
The Grisha’s leader, who is known as the Darkling, immediately sends her to the royal city of Os Alta, where she will be trained and protected from Ravka’s enemies. But as Alina begins to settle into the flow of life among the Grisha, she learns that not everything is as it seems…and that her power may mean the difference between life and death for more than just the people of Ravka.
I absolutely loved Shadow and Bone! It was a fast-paced, exciting story, which I found almost impossible to put down. This was my first time reading anything by Leigh Bardugo, and I was really impressed with her writing. She did a phenomenal job of world building, which made the setting of the novel feel very real to me. I also really liked the main characters, especially Alina, and enjoyed seeing how they developed over the course of the story.
I enjoyed Shadow and Bone so much that I immediately decided to dive into the rest of the trilogy. It was a good thing that when I decided to buy my copy of Shadow and Bone, I purchased the entire trilogy as a box set. I don’t think I could have handled waiting for the other two books to be shipped to me.
The second book in the Grishaverse trilogy is Siege and Storm, which begins a short time after the events of the previous novel.
While I can’t go into any details about the plot of this book without giving away spoilers for Shadow and Bone, I can say that it was an excellent continuation of Bardugo’s story.
I enjoyed reading Siege and Storm every bit as much as the previous book! Just like Shadow and Bone, the second book is a very fast-paced read. It includes a tremendous amount of action and drama, and really does a good job of expanding on the world (and the conflict) that was created in the first book.
Bardugo also added several new characters to the cast of the second book…some of whom became instant favorites. It was a lot of fun to see these new characters interacting with those from the first novel, especially since they had a pretty big impact on some developing relationships.
The final book in the Grishaverse trilogy is Ruin and Rising.
Like the other two books in the trilogy, Ruin and Rising is a very fast-paced read, and includes a lot of surprising moments. It’s a fantastic conclusion to Alina’s story, and one that I’ll be thinking about for quite some time.
As a whole, I thought the Grishaverse trilogy was amazing! I especially liked the fact that the conflict gets more intense as the trilogy progresses. It really makes the books difficult to put down.
I also liked that all three novels included some “bonus materials” at the end of each book, including: interviews with the author, short stories that expand on the backstories of characters other than Alina, and even some fan art.
I do think it is important to mention that the trilogy does include some content that might cause discomfort for readers. This includes references to unwanted sexual attention and rape, and threats of torture.
If you are a fan of Leigh Bardugo, enjoy young adult fantasy, or have been interested in watching the new Shadow and Bone series on Netflix, then I highly recommend taking the time to read the entire Grishaverse trilogy for yourself, beginning with Shadow and Bone. I think you’ll find all three books very hard to put down.