Today I’m reviewing the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I first read this trilogy when I was 17 or 18, and I reread it in December 2020 and January 2021. This review will be spoiler-free. This post will cover general topics about the trilogy. If you want a more details or a discussion of spoilers, you can find my reviews of the individual books here, here, and here.
The first thing I like to talk about with this trilogy is the worldbuilding. I like the uniqueness of the setting because it isn’t a medieval Europe setting. However, I am not a fan of the clear Russian, Chinese, Romani, etc. influences because I like my fantasy to not be based on real life, and I think those influences are too strong. However, I much prefer those influences over the stereotypical medieval Europe setting. I like the Shadow Fold and its role in the story. I also like the magic system and how it subverts a common trope regarding magic’s effects on the user.
As for the plot, I like the overarching plot, but the plots of each individual book aren’t that strong. Shadow and Bone has the most memorable and engaging plot, whereas Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising seem more aimless. There’s also a lack of tension in parts of those books, whereas there’s plenty of tension in Shadow and Bone. The ending is overall satisfying; however, there are parts of it I’m not a huge fan of.
As for the characters, I really like some of them like the Darkling and Nikolai. On the other hand, there are characters I strongly dislike such as Mal and the Apparat. I know lots of people like Mal, and that’s fine. He just doesn’t do it for me. As for Alina, I’m more mixed with her. I like parts of her character, but I really don’t like the way she behaves in regards to Mal. She seems too dependent on him, and she lets her feelings for him get in the way of what she needs to do. She’s really great in Shadow and Bone, but her characterization declines for me as the series progresses.
Overall, I really enjoy this trilogy. It is one of my favorite series of all time. No book or series is perfect, and the problems this trilogy has are minimal compared to others I’ve read. What’s important is that this series is fun and engaging, and there are many aspects of it that I love and hold onto.
What do you think of this trilogy? Have you read it? Are you interested in reading it? Let me know in the comments down below.