Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Series


I read Shadow and Bone way back in 2012, but as the next book wasn’t out yet, I sort of forgot about it as my reading time was overwhelmed by my kids. Then, at a used book store, I saw Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising on the shelves, and got all, re-excited. I re-read Shadow and Bone and then read the other two installments within five days of each other. Total. World. Immersion.


The Grisha series is set in Ravka, a country divided by a huge expanse of darkness wherein lie carnivorous beasts of terrible origin. The Fold, as it is called, is the result of a magical ‘accident’ perpetuated long-ago by a Grisha. Our protagonist in this world is Alina Starkov, an orphan of limited appeal or abilities who primarily follows around and half-moons after best friend Mal who is a skilled tracker and quite popular with, like, everyone. Everything changes when Alina displays extraordinary power, shedding light on the Fold, powers unlocked in an effort to save Mal and other members of her Army regiment. Her ability to summon light, to summon the sun, may be the key to destroying the Fold and bringing peace to Ravka.

The series revolves around Alina’s progression from a shy, unknown cartographer to one of the most powerful people in Ravka, worshipped as a Saint by some. Along her journey, she engages in numerous, interesting interpersonal relationships, and readers are privy to some of the most fascinating characters, both minor and major, of any series I’ve read. The story is fast-paced without losing world-building or character development, and I will, honestly, miss this world.

And it is written well. Bardugo has a way with language, her writing the perfect combination of clean and rich, and she maintains it throughout all three installments. I’ve read a few series lately where the writing fell off a bit in exchange, I’m guessing, for speed and excitement.

Of course, this genre is not complete without a love triangle, (I hate superficial love triangles if you don’t know that yet), but damn did I like this one. The Darkling-Alina-Mal struggle is nothing like the majority of triangles out there. And of course, the series then throws in a third possibility, Nikolai, who complicates things not because Alina loves him too but because he may just be the right choice for, you know, the world.

All in all, very well done.

2 thoughts on “Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Series

  1. I loved this one right up until the climax of the third book. The actions Alina takes and the miracles that happen make death feel cheap and meaningless. Plus, I hated Mal and how abusive and controlling he was, and that Alina, despite growing so much, never told him what she sacrificed for him for all their childhood, just let him keep beating her up for her present. That made me. Also, I kept waiting for the bombshell revelation about the Darkling in the first book to be countered. There’s no real proof, and it felt to me like Alina was being misdirected, but then it ended up just being truth with no explanation or further research. I’ve wanted to go back and reread the series – I’ve read the first two many times, but haven’t read any since R&R came out – but I’m worried that the first two books will be broken by the things that bothered me in the third. 😦

    But if you miss this world, her second duology is set in this world, too! IMO, they weren’t as good as the first series, but I’m not a fan of heist books or criminal underworlds, which basically means the series was already kinda skewed negative for me before I began. Other people loved it though.


  2. Pingback: Sunday Post: The Long Month Recap | The Unfinished Intellectual

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s