I think I’ve died multiple times while reading this series.
Before I get to the dying part, let me fill you in on the summary for the first book so you understand somewhat what it is about. If you have read these series (… help me), I’m so glad, because I really need to let all the rage and pain out.
Book One: Shadow and Bone
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.
Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destroy the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.
Putting to use our new rating scale! I give this series a…
I absolutely loved this series. I am going to go onto my bio shortly to change everything. It is definitely a top three types of series.
If you’re confused about the genre, it’s a fantasy-adventure. It’s full of action and romance. Everything I ever want in a fantasy series.
Bardugo does amazingly with every single character within the series. You fall in love with the darkest of characters. You will feel all sorts of emotions and FEELS. Everyone is displayed in a beautiful manner.
The dialogue can be absolutely hilarious when it comes time, but will have you in tears with the beautiful way they talk. They speak more poetic, full of metaphors and lovely arrangement of their words.
And the plot itself is so enhancing. It pulled me in on the first book, carried me through in the second, and threw me out the window in the third. U just got done with it not even two hour ago. I can already tell this is a series that I will never get over. I will always want more of it.
And it killed me. It downright killed me. I’m not alive anymore. I am a ghost. I can’t eVEN ANYMORE. This is a series that will betray you, will murder you, and will tear your heart into pieces. Just saying. :-l
I really encourage ANY fantasy fan to check this out. I recommend it 10/10.
Now I will go through each of the books, explaining my thoughts on each. Keep in mind, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm I have read a long time ago, so my memory may be a little off–But I definitely know the large and most meaningful parts to me.
After my main point about each of them for those who have not read them, I will get into the spoilers.
Shadow and Bone:
Why you should read it: It is powerful and will pull at your heart. It will make you feel the same way the main character Alina feels, because the author does a real good job at describing everything that she is and what she goes through.
The beginning may be a little hard to get through, but believe me, it gets better real quick. So hang in there, and don’t be discouraged.
I felt so much betrayal. I never felt so hurt in my lifetime. Even when I was reading The Mortal Instruments and found out Sebastian was who he was. Not going into detail with that one, but…
When we are first introduced to the Darkling, he was a charming fellow. He knew what to say, when to say it, and blew my mind away. And you must be wondering…
“Cayli, why did you trust someone with the ‘Darkling’?”
Well, I’ll answer that: No clue. Maybe I thought it was just a name. Like the Darkling drew Alina in with his charming smile and handsome face, he pulled my heart with his words. I trusted him, even when he used the Cut–in which I should have saw as a red flag. I was blind, just like Alina was. Then when Baghra said that he was an evil person… Like Alina, I could not believe it. I kept thinking, “No. She’s wrong. She must have messed up with something. She’s lying.” But no. Baghra was right.
My heart split in two.
I see a lot of Mal, but at the same time I don’t. He was the thought in the back of Alina’s head. He was the figure that Alina’s love and best friend. When seeing him at the end of the book, I fell in love with him immediately. I knew that whatever was about to happen, he was going cause some trouble, because he’s a “good soldier.” (lol… a late reference, but it fits him.) It hurt me to see him hurt. It hurt me to see Alina hurt.
I hurt a lot.
And it also delivered cold themes, I thought. Like at the end when Alina didn’t want to kill the stag, but then the Darkling ended up killing it. ALina saw its beauty, but in the second book (which I will get to) everything changes as the hunger and power grow.
Siege and Storm:
Now, when it comes to second books in a trilogy, it seems more like a bridge from first to second. It does not hold as much power or strength, but at the same time, we could not be without it.
Yes, this second book was kind of dull compared to the other two, but nonetheless, I fell in love with it. It focuses on the characters individually. You meet even more characters, and fall in love with them. And if you don’t fall in love with one specific character… oh, my heart hurts.
NIKOLAI. NIKOLAI. NIKOLAI. *Raises poms poms in the air*
When we enter this book, we find ourselves quickly on this ship. The Darkling has Alina and Mal captured. The Darkling is making Mal track the second amplifier.
And that’s when we meet Tamar, Tolya, and Sturmhond.
I did not know at first how to approach these characters. They seemed okay enough, but I didn’t really notice them until Sturmhond spoke to Alina for the first time. I liked him in a way that made me suspicious — I had been betrayed once… not ready to do it again. I didn’t know who Sturmhond was, or what his goals were, so I wasn’t ready to give in just yet.
But then there’s another epic battle ans Sturmhond escapes with the Sun Summoner and Mal along with his crew. And then I fell in love with him.
I did not know what I was in for.
When Sturmhond revealed himself to be the Prince of Ravka, I think I screamed in joy. He was hot, he was lively, he was a prince. What else could I possibly want now?
Of course, I never really shipped Alina and Nikolai. They seemed more like the close-friend type. Whenever Nikolai started confessing how he felt, it felt kind of awkward, because I knew it would never happen, yet at the same time I was curious. How far would this go?
I loved how clever he was, how he knew how to say the right thing. He is my absolute favorite character of all time. When he leaves at the end of the book, I got so sad, not because I knew he could die, but because I wouldn’t get to see him for awhile.
And Alina really scared me in this book. I was scared she would actually go off the deep end, take a path that wasn’t what she wanted. Over and over, she would talk about the Firebird and how she wanted it, and Mal was pretty aware of this. He told her she was becoming obsessed.
I became more interested in Morozova and his story. Who was he? What did he accomplish? What did he leave behind?
Again, with Mal, I really felt angry at him throughout this story. He was being a big butthole. “I can’t be Alina.” CRY ME RIVER, MAL .YOU CAN BE WITH HER.
And that time he left his post, and Alina nearly died… I’m laughing now as I think about it, but I was so angry that I had to put the book down. (I am literally uncontrollably laughing right now… hold on.)
Okay, I’m back. But yeah, when he did that, I was so angry at him. I felt everyone’s pain in that one. Mal, why my man. Get your life togettthhherrr.
Ruin and Rising:
So in this book, it is the final part of Alina’s journey. It is filled with emotion and action. It was definitely one of my favorite. It will leave you smiling and hurting and dwelling over everything that just happened.
Bardugo is not kind when it comes to this story (well, maybe in the end). I was constantly worrying about the characters. One moment everything would be fine, and the next the person we were just talking is dead.
So yeah! Give it a read! 😀
We don’t really meet any new characters, but for the little cute boy Misha, which I really wish I got to know more. He was adorable.
We are in this underground place. The Apparat is getting on my last nerve, then Mal steps in and saves the day. Because Mal is Mal. And Mal is awesome.
I was so glad to get out of there and get to the surface. It was wonderful to venture out and explore what had become of Ravka since the Darkling took over.
AND THEN NIKOLAI COMES 😀
Okay, so I remember this part a lot, because I was so happy. If I wasn’t in class at the time, I would have been dancing around and singing.
So like the militia are surrounding our group. Looks bleak right? Yeah, it does.
And I don’t really notice it when a guy in the back goes, “How about we give them to Nikolai?”
I just shrug and go, “I mean, sure, that’d be great. But that would never happen.”
Then he starts talking… and talking… and talking.
And the minute he said, “Not bad looking? He’s [outstandingly] handsome.”
Then I smiled. Oh, my goodness. NIKOLAI IS BACK IN BUSINESS. And making quite the entrance. I expected nothing less from him.
It gets deeper and deeper into the story. The mood changes. It gets darker and darker. There doesn’t seem to be a clear way out. I’m freaking out, because I don’t want anyone to die…
And everyone goes downhill the minute Nikolai is picked up by the… *pauses as I look for the word* nichevo’ya (don’t ever ask me how to say that). I’m flipping out. Then Sergei is dead. Nikolai is transformed into some kind of dark monster and flies off. Like I’m dying over here. ALINA DO SOMETHING. MAL DO SOMETHIN-Baghra! She’ll help us!
But then Baghra dies. Thanks for that.
Then they go searching for the firebird. They realize Mal is the last amplifier. Then of course he is willing to die. When he is ever on my side? Never, because he’s a pain in the butt.
And the last battle scene… when they march into the Fold and take down the Darkling. Then Alina killed Mal for the power. I was internally screaming. But everything was okay, because I realized he can just be resurrected or something like that.
And this was when I really felt bad for the Darkling. We finally realize that he did love Ravka. He did want to rule it… he was just so alone. He was his own tragedy. I didn’t want to call him evil after that, because that wasn’t what he was. Yeah, he killed many people. He wanted to hurt Alina, but why? He was lost in his own eternal life.
If you’re still around, hey!
If you have read these books, comment down below about how you felt! I would love to talk to more about it. I will be reading Six of Crows soon. I’m so happy to have made this post for this series. I hope you enjoyed.
All the pictures taken were by me. I made this review out of my deep love for this series.