After hearing so much about Leigh Bardugo (whose book, “Six of Crows,” has just been released), I decided it was about time to start the Grisha trilogy.
Synopsis: Alina has grown up alongside of Mal, both orphans raised by the Duke’s generosity. Over the years, they’ve drifted apart; Mal a tracker and Alina a mapmaker. Alina never felt like she quite fit in. When she is sent across the Fold, Alina learns there is more power to her than meets the eye. Now, the most powerful individual, the Darkling, thrusts her into the world of Grisha life–a strange, yet beautiful facet of life with talented individuals–forcing Alina to live in the Little Palace. She learns from the best to harness her ability, but, just like there was more to Alina, there is more than meets the eye to the Darkling. Alina meets another side of him no one else has witnessed before, and he places the fate of Ravka on her shoulders.
The writing: superb. The characters: complex. The setting: marvelous. These all add up to make a captivating plot. Ravka, though a made-up place, definitely has Russian intones. I really loved the world she built. And because of Leigh’s great writing skills, I could imagine the place and people as if a film played in my mind. Speaking of people, you think you know someone, but there are layers to these characters that emphasize why they act the way they do (e.g. Baghra & Mal) or delve deeper to uncover something new that changes the way readers look at them (e.g. the Darkling). My favorite character by far is Alina Starkov. She is so relatable, while at the same time I look up to her. She finds her own strength. And who doesn’t love a character that grows?
There was a lot of time spent in traveling and lessons, and though essential in Alina’s development, I wish we could’ve skipped a lot of it or (at least with the lessons) seen more of Alina learning than hearing about it.
This book teaches about life, love, and everything in between–with some magical Grisha that make the story all the more enjoyable to read. And I can tell the story is about to get much more interesting.
Leigh gets a 4.7 out 5 stars from me!