As you might have seen in yesterday’s post, the reason I didn’t read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows was because I got my hands on the Grisha trilogy. I bring thee a review for the first book in the series: Shadow and Bone.
Note: If you’ve read the book and you’re not that interested in spoiler-free content, make sure to head to my booktalk, linked here.
We meet Alina Starkov and Mal Oretsev, two orphans who’ve grown up together. Despite their different personalities, they’ve befriended each other and had each other’s back since they met. We then see how they find their way into Ravka’s First Army and are introduced to the term of Grisha, wielders of what they like to call Small Science and what others call magic. Alina is soon discovered to belong amongst the Grisha, the Second Army, rather than the First, and she’s met with an abundance of challenges and experiences she’s never encountered before. Of course, there’s a lot of angst and a dash of a love triangle as the Darkling- considered the most powerful Grisha, enters the stage.
On this side, I was going in the book with very low expectations. I wasn’t specifically told the writing was bad, just that the writing in Six of Crows was better, and I somehow interpreted that as the writing being bad. I don’t know why.
Coming back to the point, the writing was very good. Actually, considering it’s pretty hard to pull off a first person P.O.V., the feat is remarkable. It was definitely above good, inching towards amazing. To give you a little bit of context, the book with the writing I consider the best is Sarah J. Maas’ A Court Of Thorns And Roses– or, well, any of the ACOTAR series. Leigh Bardugo’s writing did manage to keep me hooked to the story. I had no problem following along with the plot or the characters. A solid 4/5 on this one.
I really liked the characters! I liked Alina, even though I couldn’t relate that much to her. There were times I’d’ve picked differently than her or been able to see into some things she didn’t, but that didn’t make the reading experience less enjoyable. I really liked Mal, too. He has a lot of potential I hope will get exploited in future books, as he didn’t have much dimension in this book. Another character I enjoyed reading was the Darkling- I still have mixed feelings about him. Uncontestably, he’s the most complex character so far. He’s dark, cunning and a bit of a sociopath. Saying any more would be a spoiler, so I can’t really share any more thoughts on him. Moving on, I really enjoyed Genya’s character. I don’t really know why, but throughout the entire book, she was giving me quite distinctive Lieutenant Matsumoto (the Bleach character) vibes. That’s probably one reason I liked her. The other reasons would be spoilers so, again, I’ll have to move on.
I found the plot original and easy to follow. It kept me hooked and was quite perfectly merged with the writing and the characters. I enjoyed the twists and turns and how, just as I felt like the pace was getting a little slow, the context immediately changed. There was a slight love triangle risk (which is also a YA trope I hate from the bottom of my heart), but then that got handled swiftly. The romantic relationships were partly confusing at times, but that just added to the magic for me.
General & ratings
Wrapping up, I loved this book. Gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, making for a well-deserved Exceeds Expectations, because it definitely did for me.
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, make sure to like and subscribe to the newsletter for more similar posts. This month, I’ll be doing Andrea’s Bookish July, where I publish a post every day in July (find out all about it here). If you’re interested, make sure to keep updated- I’m posting regularly on my socials, too- find them below.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you tomorrow!