The Grisha Trilogy #1
by Leigh Bardugo
Wars continue to rage, the darkness continues to spread – and Alina, orphaned at a young age and now part of the map-making section of the army, is well aware of her lot in life. And she’s accepted that lot since it gave her Mal – her best friend, confidante and ally.
When Alina and Mal’s army caravan is ambushed in the mysterious and deadly darkness, Alina’s secret weapon is revealed. A secret she only had faint inklings about as a child.
Alina is immediately whisked away to the join the Grishna to practice and train her magical gifts. There, she has frequent encounters with the Darkling, the ruler of the Grishna. And while he’s mesmerizing and enchanting, Alina can’t help wondering what happened to Mal and if all she’s been promised is too good to be true.
Okay, complicated storyline, clearly. But I really, really liked this book. I loved the world setup. I loved the characters. I loved that nothing was as it seemed. I loved the enduring friendship. I hated (but loved) the massive cliffhanger at the end.
My only true criticism of this book is about the Grishna. I – and this might be because I TORE through this book and failed to register something – really struggled to understand the foundation of the Grishna. I mean, I got the basic concepts, but their history, way of life, factions, etc. were a bit fuzzy for me. I’m hoping this is a result of it being the first book in a trilogy and we’ll find out a whole lot more in the upcoming sequels.
I really enjoyed Alina’s path and growth throughout the novel: starting out as “nobody,” quickly becoming “somebody,” then realizing the downfalls of being in that place. Her many realizations throughout the novel of her and her power’s impact – and how multifaceted that impact was – were great and such a natural progression in the storyline.
(I’m also So. Happy. this wasn’t a magical power she came into at a certain age or because Saturn was in the Second House, or whatever. The background of why Alina blocked the power out is absolutely touching. Loved.)
I’ll need to reread this one before Siege and Storm comes out next year, but I’m already looking forward to both the rereading and the sequel (remember: epic cliffhanger). In the meantime, Tor has a companion folk tale from Duva!
How I came upon this: egalley from the publisher
Publisher: Henry Holt
P.S. that cover. omg. I’d frame that puppy on a wall. GORGEOUS.