It was a friend that led me to read this series. He told me I had to read it so that he would have someone to talk to about it. This, of course, intrigued me, and so I immediately sought out book one of the Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone. From the end of the prologue, I knew exactly what he’d been talking about and soon found myself a third of the way in and an hour had gone by.
The world Leigh Bardugo has created is fantastic (in both senses of the word). It is a world where certain folk are born with magic. Each child in the kingdom is tested and if they are found gifted, they are then trained in the art of the Small Science.
I love Bardugo’s branch of magic and how real it seemed. Once she described it, I immediately thought ‘well, that’s logical. I believe it.’
The Grisha, the name for these gifted people and whom this trilogy is named for, are manipulators of reality. Their power comes from what is around them, not out of thin air. They cannot create something that isn’t already there.
The Grisha and their powers are very much at the center of this story. We’re introduced to two orphans called Alina and Mal in the opening sequence of book one. Their upbringing was better than most, but not exactly a picnic, and now they work in the army; Alina as a mapmaker and Mal as a tracker. They were both tested in their youth and found lacking of any magical talents.
The book is narrated in the first person from Alina’s perspective and because of this, we learn everything as she does. This is what I liked best about Shadow and Bone. As I was introduced to characters through her eyes, I was seeing them all with her feelings projected upon them. Even though, as a reader I sensed something was amiss I could not tell where (or whom) the feelings were coming from.
A lot of young adult books attempt to surprise you with twists and spins but I’ve never really found one that does that as well as this series. I’ve usually guessed what was going to happen chapters in advance, with the exception of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen which was fantastic. Shadow and Bone is in the same league as Red Queen. It kept me guessing as well as kept me effortlessly enthralled in the plot.
So, the fever that began when my friend told me to read these books ran hot, fierce and was utterly contagious. As I finished the trilogy, I had already convinced three friends to continue the obsession.
The characters in this series have stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Especially the Darkling and Sturmhold who kept me reading all of book two. On that note, I’ll say that book two, Siege and Storm, drags a little bit. It’s definitely a middle of the road piece in the series but make sure book three, Ruin and Rising, is close at hand because it’ll be much needed. Then you really won’t be able to stop.