Tag Archives: Russian culture

[Review] Ruin and Rising — Leigh Bardugo


Book Title                  Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #03)
Author:                        Leigh Bardugo
Number of pages:  422


Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo - Book Cover - GrishaThe 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.

(re: Goodreads @ Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– The opening fizzles the excitement, action and cliffhanger of Siege and Storm; pacing is askew
– The historical portion of world-building (as it relates to the twists) is a bit info-dumpy; some revelations are glossed over
– The closure in revelations is wrapped up too neatly and a bit safe; polygonal romance reaches finality
– Supporting characters continue to shine brighter than the main cast; often being told of a characters nuanced arcing instead of being shown it.
– Nikolai remains wonderful

Initial Thoughts

I am mad. There are probably spoilers. And incoherency.  

Continue reading [Review] Ruin and Rising — Leigh Bardugo

[Review] Siege and Storm — Leigh Bardugo

Book Title                  Siege and Storm (The Grisha #02)
Author:                        Leigh Bardugo
Number of pages:  435


Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo - Book CoverDarkness 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.

(re: Goodreads @ Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– You may find your newest favourite character in Sturmhond
– Contextual world building steps further to deeper into science v.s. magic and the mythology of the Grishaverse
– Story focuses heavily on building [Alina’s] character to transition her from plot-driving threads to more of a character-driven notion
– Less development in main ensemble (Mal remains whiny, Darkling typecast into antagonism); introduces a variety of refreshing voices
Did I mention Sturmhond?


Initial Thoughts

It was “Mal or Darkling” BUT NOW IT IS “STURMHOND. ALL. THE. WAY.”


Continue reading [Review] Siege and Storm — Leigh Bardugo

[Review] Shadow and Bone — Leigh Bardugo

Book Title                   Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
Author:                         Leigh Bardugo
Number of pages:  368


shadow and bone - leigh bardugo - book coverSurrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

(re: Goodreads @ Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– Mild-to-steep learning curve in world-building melding Russian cultural influences with magic systems akin to Avatar: The Last Airbender
– A page-turning read that ends with a thrilling bang (perhaps a cliffhanger that may require book two)
– Narrative voice often unwillingly promotes the romance as the central plot; includes a tedious (and somewhat forced) love-square+ that glimpses adolescent drama concerning popularity and individuality
– Character arcing is a jumble of good and bad eggs. Supporting characters may be more intriguing than some of the main ensemble


Initial Thoughts

3.5/5 may sound low but I assure you that it is a high 3.5 (it’s probably really a 4 to a lot of other people, okay?)


Continue reading [Review] Shadow and Bone — Leigh Bardugo