Book Review: The Grisha TrilogyPosted: October 30, 2013
I am still trudging my way through the collection of short stories I got from Tor (there are about 150 of them and I’m only at the “B” authors) – trudging, because as much as I love fantasy/sci-fi short stories, there has to be something very special about a short story, either in the world or the writing or the characters, etc., to grab my attention. So far the only stories that impress me in this collection are Leigh Bardugo’s The Witch of Duva and The Too-Clever Fox. They have very similar twist endings, but the world of Russian folklore in them is not something I’ve seen in other English-language fantasies before, so after reading the excerpts from her Grisha novels, I decided to check them out.
There are two books from the series, “Shadow and Bone” and “Siege and Storm”, with the third one “Ruin and Rising” coming out next summer. The story takes place in Ravka, a country that is clearly inspired by Russia. It’s ruled by the Grisha, witches and wizards who have the power to control and manipulate elements. They are divided into different groups like Corporal (healers), Material (metal and glass workers), Ethereal (those who work with wind, water, light) and are led by the most powerful of them all, the Darkling. Ravka is threatened by the Fold, a stretch of impenetrable darkness populated by terrifying monsters, and when the main character, Alina Starkov, is discovered to be a much-revered Sun Summoner, she becomes Ravka’s only hope to destroy the Fold.
Like I said, the world of the story is what draws me to these books, and it’s the strongest point of them too. Once you get past all the Russian folklore, the story is pretty much standard YA fantasy. The writing is standard (I should probably stop expecting amazing prose in YA fantasies.) The plot is kind of slow – the first book sags in the middle, and the second one gets slow near the end too. The characters are standard. They’re not bad, really, just not amazing. I enjoy the first two books enough to want to read the third installment, but do I recommend them? Eh. If you like a bit of light fantasy in a slightly different setting, then sure.
As for the outfit, I was going for a Russia-inspired look, and this embroidered sweater is perfect. The rest of the outfit I kept simple, since I figured the black/charcoal colors represent the Fold and the Darkling. My watch would’ve made the perfect accessory, but alas, it’s broken. While looking for a replacement, I’ll see if I can turn the band into a bracelet, because my wrist is feeling quite empty.
Sweater: Atmosphere, Jeans: Target, Boots: Vietnamese shop