to read a blurb about the first book, Shadow and Bone, in this series on Goodreads, click here.
to read a blurb about the second book, Siege and Storm, in this series on Goodreads, click here.
to read a blurb about the third book, Ruin and Rising, in this series on Goodreads, click here.
This series was such a wild ride! I also had a million different conflicting emotions at any given time and that was something I seriously wasn’t used too. I was either rooting for Alina or cursing the mistakes she made. I was for the Darkling at one point, then switched to hating him, then switched to pitying him, then switched to I don’t even know anymore. I still haven’t quite figured him out yet. Never have I felt so much emotion while reading a series. Normally they stay pretty consistent with a few ups and downs. But I’m glad that a writer can bring out so many emotions in me. I consider that a sign of good writing.
If you guys read my review of Ruin and Rising then you know just how much this series affected me. I’ll attempt to recreate that without spoiling. So I am apologizing in advance if I give anything away. I don’t know what is considered a spoiler and what it is. Because people have different definitions of spoilers.
I’ll start off with the plot, since that was the basis of this whole thing. Grish aren’t treated quite as well as they are in Six of Crows. Although, to be honest, I don’t think they were ever really treated well. Which is sad because Grisha are incredible. The Grisha are kind of ruled by someone called the Darkling. I mean, they have a King that they follow but mainly the Darkling controls the Grisha. The long and short of it is Alina, the Sun Summoner, attempts to take down the Darkling.
I thought the plot was interesting enough. I mean just by the sounds of the Darkling’s name, you could tell he was bad news bears. But that was thing with the plot. You never really knew if what Alina was doing was good or bad. Leigh Bardugo weaved such a tale that often times I was conflicted. Was what the Darkling doing really so awful? Was Alina truly doing things to save Ravka or doing it for her own selfish reasons? Those were the two questions that swirled in my mind constantly, especially in the last the book. The last book really messed me up. I think I will be affected by it for a very long time.
I had many issues with Alina in the beginning. I considered her an exceptionally weak character and I can’t stand weak characters. I consider myself a weak person, why would I want to read about someone who is weak? She did start to redeem herself, in my eyes, when she realized she was Grisha and more importantly, the Sun Summoner. She had all this immense power but who did she let run her over and destroy her repeatedly? MAL. More on him later because I have a lot to say about him. After some time, Alina did start to turn around for me and I really started to like her. Sometimes. More often than not, I liked her confidence she started to portray. She started to lead and I liked that.
Ugh. Why was he even a thing in this book? Why?! He did nothing and just annoyed me more often than not. He was NOT supportive of Alina and I often found their relationship incredibly toxic. He never supported Alina in using her powers and told her repeatedly that he couldn’t be with her while she was a Grisha, not caring how much that hurt Alina. Alina gave him so freakin much for him and he just took it all for granted! I didn’t support their relationship. At all. I thought he was incredibly selfish and hurt Alina because of his own shortcomings. He sort of started to redeem himself but I still couldn’t bring myself to fully support him or his relationship with Alina.
I was and am still conflicted about the Darkling. Was he good? Was he bad? I still have no idea if he was good or bad. Perhaps he is considered an anti hero like Kaz. Regardless, he was certainly an interesting character to read about. I wouldn’t mind getting a novel about him. Maybe the entire Grisha trilogy from his point of view? Anyway, I was secretly hoping that him and Alina might end up together. Everything about them seemed to work. He seemed to understand her in a way that nobody else could. But it was hard to look past how he killed thousands of people just because he could. That is something that you don’t easily overlook.
Overall, I really liked this trilogy. It had it’s faults, sure, but it was really solid. I adore the Grisha world. There something about the powers and how natural they are. It just makes me want to keep coming back for more. I really hope that maybe we get a Darkling novel because that would be just so cool. He had such an interesting power.
Regardless of how I felt about the ending or the characters, I’m glad I read this series. For all the emotional trauma I endured, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.