Hi and howdy 🤠😊
The teaser trailer for the new Shadow & Bone series just dropped and I’ve made the abrupt decision that I’m going to try and read the entire trilogy before the shows release. As of right now I’ve read both Six of Crows books and believe me when I say I am hyped(!) to see them in live-action (I screeched when I saw Inej in the teaser), but I’ve only read the first book from the Grisha Trilogy and don’t remember much so it’s time to read the whole series, finally.
Shadow & Bone
Sooo … I may or may not have watched the trailer, picked this up to re-read and finished it in just over 24 hours. Don’t judge me.
I enjoyed this book a whole lot better the second time around. If I remember correctly (which I probably don’t tbh) my initial problems with this book was the weird pacing and progression of the story during the last half, and for some reason I didn’t like Mal.
The pacing of the last half still felt kind of weird to me this time around. We go from party and training to BOOM camping and fleeing. So that was all still the same, although how fast I got through it was new.
One thing I don’t understand though is why 2019 me wasn’t a fan of Mal? Reading this I was so confused because I thought he was such a sweetie. When he was describing how it felt being away from Alina and how he’d go looking for her just to tell her about something silly he’d seen my reaction was basically: 😍😭. Did I miss something while I was re-reading or what …?
With this re-read my love for Alina stays the same. She’s a sweet cinnamon roll with the short person “don’t fuck with me” attitude. She says what she thinks and she has some goddamn common sense. Clary, you’ve grown on me, Celaena you will always be iconic but Alina Starkov may be my favourite YA Fantasy main character. Just saying.
Siege & Storm
I then picked up the sequel straight away which is truly a miracle and I’m quite proud of myself. Once again I enjoyed this book, however not as much as S&B.
This books strengths definitely don’t lie in the pacing or action. I don’t really understand what the point was to end S&B with Alina and Mal being on the run only for them to be found and brought back straight away? It felt a lot like running around in circles. In the same sort of breathe, there’s action at the start with Darkling, and there’s action at the end, again with the Darkling, but the middle is pretty bare. It’s a lot of strategising, speculating, and them living at the palace, and besides from Alina being proposed to every five minutes the only nitty-gritty is with Alina and Mal, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
For me Alina carried this book with Nikolai helping to shoulder a lot of that weight too. I enjoyed her in roll of leader of the Grisha army, I thought she was pretty badass but still felt real and relatable, but I did feel like she got that pretty easy. I also thought the whole “Sankta Alina” aspect of the plot was pretty cool with people staring a literal religion around her.
I have heard a lot about Nikolai and I was super excited to read about him and he did not disappoint. I loved his introduction to the story as well as his overall personality. I also liked the Alina/Nikolai relationship but when I say that I mean in a pure BROTP kind of way. They’ve got a good dynamic going on.
Speaking of OTPs and all that lot … Alina and Mal. Honestly from what I’ve seen from reviews and such, I was planning on disliking Mal in this book, but that didn’t come. Besides from what happened right before and then right after the “fight club” scene (the smoochy-smooching) I thought the conflict within their relationship was pretty realistic.
I thought Mal was making some decent points and I don’t think either one were necessarily in the wrong. Alina feels a responsibility to help Ravka, she un-intentionally helped cause the problem and she’s the only one with the power to stop the Darkling. Mal just cares about Alina, he wants her to be safe, he wants to spend time with her which he says very poetically with “I came here for you. You’re my flag. You’re my nation”.
Ruin & Rising
I took a break from the binge because I had a blog tour I still hadn’t read the ARC for as well as a whole bunch of school work but as soon as the actual trailer dropped I picked up the third and final book straight away.
Talking about the trailer for a second: it’s a Masterpiece™. I’m so excited and I’m actually really looking forward to see the differences in plot between the show and the books. Obviously I don’t know the ins and outs of those changes yet but even just the Crows involvement has me so excited!! Anyways, back to the book …
It’s official, we’ve officially found a fictional character that get’s kidnapped just as much as Simon Lewis. Once again the plot featured a lot of kidnapping, lot’s of running, lot’s of camping and while I loved the characters involved in those situations, it does start to feel kind of repetitive.
I know I said in my review of Siege & Storm that Alina and Nikolai are total BROTP, and they are, but also I spent a lot of this book thinking “JUST MARRY HIM ALREADY AND HAVE ADORABLY POWERFUL BABIES!!”. I love Nikolai with my whole heart and I am now very hyped for the next Grishaverse series that follow him. When I’ll actually be able to read these books is anyone’s guess but I’m hoping to at least start them before the end of the eyar.
There was actually a fair few twists that I didn’t see coming in this which was appreciated and that whole final battle sequence got some reactions out of me. I was actually sitting in the living room while reading the last half of the book and this was my conversation with my mother:
Mum: who are you talking to? Me: tHe BoOK!!
And finally … the epilogue. It made my heart happy and that’s all that matters.
Overall thoughts & feelings:
I am very proud of myself of for ticking yet another super popular YA series off my list. Was this the greatest trilogy in the world? No. It’s had it’s problems. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but the pacing and constant repetition of kidnappings and being on the run grew stale (yes this sarcasm lol).
However I really loved the main cast of characters: Alina was so easy to root for, the romance was complex but compelling (I don’t know why everybody hates on Mal), and the Darkling was one of the most interesting villains I’ve read about in a while.
I didn’t plan on re-reading Six of Crows anytime soon but those plans are probably going to change. I cannot wait for the show to come out in Netflix, I apologise in advance for the person I’m going to become and to the people who follow me on Tumblr.
These turned into full fledged reviews. I wasn’t expecting this 😂 Part of me wanted to read these before the show so I had time to scour the book-fandom side of Tumblr before all the tags were taken over by the tv-show-fandom which literally always happens to me.
I’d love to know what you thought about this series. Which book is your favourite? Which character would you die for? Are you looking forward to the show?? Thanks for reading :))