Today I’m doing something a little bit different. Instead of writing a proper review, I’m going to give some of my general thoughts on the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. Since I’m talking about the entire trilogy, I cannot guarantee that this post will be spoiler free, though I will try to avoid going into any specifics.
I had low expectations going into this series. I have a messy relationship with fantasy and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I like the idea of fantasy stories, but I often find myself overwhelmed with the world-building which causes me to lose interest. I liked the world building in this series. I liked that it was interesting but also not overly complicated. I also appreciated that the beginning of the book had a guide to the different types of Grisha which helped me keep track of things.
I thought Shadow and Bone was a very solid start to the trilogy. I thought it did an excellent job of laying out the world, the story, and the characters. I liked becoming invested in the story and drawn into the world.
I thought Siege and Storm was a bit slow at times, but I did appreciate learning more about the Grisha and the legends the main characters were diving into. I loved meeting Nikolai in this story and he is easily one of my favourite characters in this entire trilogy.
I quite enjoyed Ruin and Rising even though it took me a while to read. I thought it was a solid end to the story and I didn’t see some of the twists coming.
I thought all three books did a good job of blending world building with exciting action and/or battle scenes. I also appreciated that though there was some romantic tension throughout the series, the romance did not take away from the rest of the story. I liked that the series had things like betrayal and loss, as well as friendship and hope.
As far as characters go, this series had some excellent characters. I think the Darkling is a good villain. He’s multi-layered and smart. I liked learning more about him and his backstory. I liked Alina and Mal. I liked that they had a history and I liked their friendship. I liked that they had rough patches and moments where things looked dicey. I enjoyed a lot of the Grisha in this series. I liked learning about their powers and seeing them interact with each other. I liked how books two and three told a story of a group of underdogs trying to save the world.
Overall, I thought this was a very solid trilogy and I’m glad I gave it a chance. I’m looking forward to diving into the Six of Crows duology next so I can see Ketterdam and learn more about the world that Leigh Bardugo has created.