God I am so behind again!
I blame Christmas that’s fast approaching and work and writing and everything and I am so so sorry that I’ve not been on for a while. It sucks.
Anyway these books are a trilogy so I thought it be best to give an overview of all three and then review them at the end because seriously these books…. OH MY GOD!
The first book in the trilogy is Shadow and Bone
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
This book centres around Alina, a forgotten orphan whose powers never showed when the Grisha came to her orphanage when she was just 8-years-old. Since then she’s stuck to her best friend, Mal’s side, going into the First Army and training as a solider.
Then comes the day when the army has to go into The Shadow Fold, the place that is crawling with creatures that feast on human flesh and when Mal is injured on the barge, that’s when Alina’s powers come to life.
With her friend injured and lying in her arms, Alina lets out a burst of light that manages to send the creatures away. But now everyone is afraid of her and she’s being taken to see The Darkling.
From there her life changes, she’s now become the Sun Summoner and its her job to rid Ravka of the monsters that threaten The Shadow Fold and rule by the Darkling’s side.
But she can’t forget Mal, the boy she’s been in love with her whole life, even if that love has been unrequited.
Alina is weak and her powers don’t come to her as easily as all the other’s in the place, so why does The Darkling seem to want only her? Then she comes across her teacher, Baghra, who tells her to let go of everything she’s holding onto, then and only then, will her powers show.
The Darkling however is taking an interest in her and Alina finds herself slowly caring for him.
Baghra however is trying her hardest to keep Alina away from him. She’s hiding a secret, but what?
Alina is excited about the prospect of the Amplifier that the Darkling is looking for her but when Mal turns up at the Palace with the hunting guard, announcing that they’ve almost found Morozova’s Stag, her heart, that was slowly belonging to the Darkling, goes straight back to Mal.
But the Darkling wants the Amplifier around Alina’s neck for another reason and Baghra is keen to get her out of there so she helps her escape, letting Alina in on secrets.
As she’s escaping Alina runs into Mal, now a deserter and everything she wanted with Mal comes true.
But when they are captured and The Darkling has the Amplifier around her neck it becomes clear that The Darkling isn’t all that he made out to be.
The second book in the trilogy is…
Siege and Storm
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
In this one Mal and Alina are running for their lives, hiding in small villages until they are found once again and under The Darkling’s rule and he has a new terrifying power.
Aboard a ship with a privateer crew and under The Darkling’s focus, Alina and Mal have no where to hide. Their only allies seem to come in the form of twins Tamar and Tolya and the ships captain Sturmhond.
While hunting for the second Amplifier, Alina and Mal are rescued by Sturmhond and the Twins and while they are fleeing in another boat, they come across The second amplifier and they kill it before The Darkling has a chance to.
While they’ve been rescued and are on their way to a meeting with one of Sturmhond’s contacts, it becomes clear that he’s not all he seems either and is in actual fact Prince Nikolai.
Alina goes back to the one place she left and although Mal doesn’t want to stay he agrees for Alina’s sake.
There relationship however doesn’t stay strong and when Ml tries to kiss her, the shadowy figure of The Darkling turns up, prompting Alina to flinch from Mal and for him to walk away from her.
During this time, Alina believes she is going mad and with Mal further away from her than ever, the shadowy figure of The Darkling comes to her more often.
Then she sees Mal fighting Grisha in the night and sees him kiss Genya, the girl he’s hooked up with before. With her heart officially broken, Alina run’s, only to be mobbed by a crowd of peasants who already believes she is a Saint.
Saved by Tamar and Tolya, Alina is more determined than ever to kill the Darkling and with a dramatic head to head, Alina and the Darkling nearly die but she’s pulled back by Mal
Weakened and in hiding underneath the Palace by the Apparat and his fanatics, can Alina regain her strength and end the Darkling once and for all?
The final book in the trilogy is Ruin and Rising
The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
In the final book Alina is in hiding, trying to get her strength back so she can find the third amplifier and defeat the Darkling once and for all. But she’s now taken apart of the Darkness with her from the fight. So has he taken some of her light?
Then, with the help of the allies who managed to flew the Palace with her, they manage to leave the White Cathedral behind and start to get reinforcements along the way.
But not everything goes as smoothly as she hoped
Meeting with The Darkling again, he manages to destroy some of her weapons, and in a dramatic turn, he changes Nikolai into one of his Shadow Fold creatures.
Determined to find a cure for Nikolai and to keep the others safe, they travel to the place where the Firebird is, but along the way secrets are revealed about Morozova, the Darkling and the bond that they share.
But Alina soon finds out that the Firebird is not the third Amplifier, that its something else and to destroy it could very well destroy her….
I couldn’t really say much about the last book without giving everything away, hence why its so short, but if there is one thing you take away, from my albeit not very good summaries, is that YOU MUST READ THESE BOOKS!
Everything about them left you wanting more. Leigh Bardugo has created such amazing and strong characters and such brilliant visual words that it makes it seem as if you know these people like they are your own friends and that you live in the world she’s created.
Alina Starkov was such a brilliant character and I loved how much you saw her grow into her powers and how, even though at times it was hard to kerb the wanting and need she had to own the Amplifiers, that she managed to stay in control. She knew when to let things go and to do what was best for the others. She let Mal go so he could have a better and ordinary life without her, despite how much it broke her heart. How she was willing to marry Nikolai, even though she didn’t want to and only thought of him as a friend. And how she had to use her powers and all that she learnt from The Darkling to destroy him, despite the fact theor were times when he seemed human. She was such an amazing character and I loved reading from her point of view.
The Darkling. The bad guy of the book. At times he seemed so so evil and power hungry that it was easy to hate him and yet there were times when he seemed like such a lost boy that was full of regret and sadness and longing that you wanted to hug him and tell him that everything was going to be okay. Leigh created such a strong and confused bad guy that you didn’t knwo whether to love or hate him. And I loved that.
Even now I don’t know whether I hated him or loved him. There are always reasons behind why someone turns out the way they do and Leigh managed to transcribe that perfectly.
Mal Oretsev. This guy. At first I was like, how can you be jealous? She’s spent her whole life loving you and you’ve just mucked around with other girls and now she could have potentially moved on you realise you love her. God Damn it Mal!
But then I was like, okay you do love her. You may have realised too late but you can make up for that. And then book two came along. He annoyed me in that one a little bit. He wasn’t there for her when she needed him and she felt like she couldn’t talk to him because he hated what was happening. So he fights and kisses the one girl she’s jealous of. *SLAP* God Mal.
And then he redeemed himself at he end of it.
Then the last book. GOD! FEELS! I fll in love with Mal all over again and I cried when… well… you’ll have to read it.
Nikolai. Oh my beautiful Prince. I had a serious shipping moment between him and Alina in book two. He knows how to make you laugh, when to be serious and Prince-like. He knows when to turn on the charm and he’s an excellent strategist. And above all else he has a beautiful heart and soul (cheesy sounding I know!) And when the thing happens to him in book three, he still tries his hardest not to succumb to the darkness. If there was no Mal in this book, I would have wanted him and Alina together. But there was. So they couldn’t be haha.
Even the supporting characters were good; Tamar and Tolya, Genya, David, Nadia, Alrik, Zoya they all had their redeemable qualities and their flaws. It was because she kept them so human that you couldn’t help but love them. Even stuck up Zoya!
Leigh you have literally taken me on such an emotional rollacoaster throughout these three books that I honestly don’t know how I survived them once they were over.
I encourage everyone to read these books. Whether you finish them and not like them, or finish them and love them, they are books that need to be read.
Leigh Bardugo is such an amazing, brilliant and talented writer and I loved every single second of these books.
Thank you for writing them.
10 out of 10 stars for the trilogy