Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Published June 5, 2012

Surrounded 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.

 


So this is a re-read for me, I decided to re-read this series and I’m not regretting it. Although, I prefer the Six of Crows duology over this trilogy, I’m still enjoying immersing myself in this story and world. I absolutely am obsessed with Leigh Bardugo’s writing. It’s something that really just has the power to draw you in and keep you sucked in her words and it’s like her writing just grabs you and doesn’t let go which is something I feel like a lot of YA Writers struggle with. Since reading a lot of YA, other than The Raven Cycle, Cinder Series, and Throne of Glass. I don’t think I’ve been so drawn into a universe. 

Was I blown away by like the plot, characters, development etc? Yes and no. I enjoyed the plot quite a bit. I thought it was interesting to have Alina and Mal just be “normal” until her powers manifested. I thought it brought some spice into their relationship other than the girl pining over the boy. But my goodness, after that it was like OVERKILL. We get it, she’s the sun summoner and she’s powerful and it causes riffs between the two of them because he’s not a grisha.

Personally, the only characters I thought of as worth while in any way were the Darkling and Genya. They were like the only two who really had any substance. I LOVE the Darkling, probably one of the better villains I’ve read through YA. And Genya just had so much personality compared to anyone else. She was strong, sassy and confident, but also shy and soft spoken when it came to David. She just was great.

Shadow and Bone is always a great read, I have to say Bardugo does a great job of making a really good jumping off point for a action filled, and suspenseful trilogy. It had been so long since I read this the first time, that reading through the twists and reveals of certain plot points made me appreciate the thought that went through setting up everything that happens in this and the other two books.

5/5 Stars

Review : Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

14061957Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 17, 2014

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.
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I’m a bit bitter sweet about this ending. It was kind of expected but not really because Crooked Kingdom kind of spoiled it a bit for me (when Genia talks about Sankta Alina and her story). But then when I read Ruin and Rising right after Crooked Kingdom I found out the ending was not what I thought it was.

And honestly…I thought the Crooked Kingdom spoiler-ending would’ve been like 10 times more bad ass than what happened in Ruin and Rising.

The beginning of this book was really hard for me to get into. I don’t know why and maybe it’s because I completely DESPISE the apparat. But, what are you gonna do, there are some people we just don’t like. And then from there, I was kind of annoyed that Alina kept reaching out for the Darkling…like what the hell are you doing?! You’re trying to defeat him, not chat with the enemy.

I loved how everyone came together to try and take down The Darkling. Especially Tolia and Temar ( MY BABIES). I’m not sure how I feel about Genia being pardoned for her STUPID choices. But, Oh Well. AND HOLY HELL THE FEELS WITH BAGRHA. I think she was freaking AWESOME in this book. So happy we got to see her again.

All in all I think this conclusion was an okay one, like I said previously. I little anti-climactic for my taste, but a VERY solid series. I love the grisha universe that Bardugo has created and I REALLY hope we get to see more of it now that Six of Crows duology is done as well as the Grisha Series.

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Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

14061955 Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 4th 2013

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.
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I was a bit apprehensive starting Siege and Storm. I was told it was an “okay” filler book between Shadow and Bone and Ruin and Rising. I have to say I absolutely loved this book. I enjoyed the writing (as most of you can tell I’ve been on a very big Bardugo Binge) as well as the story line. A lot of threads being woven together for the conclusion of this series.

The pace of this book is absolutely perfect if this is considered a “filler” book. Although the Darkling isn’t very present in this book, he’s very much-so a big part of this plot/story, especially in this book. The suspense and the tie between The Darkling and The Sun Summoner are absolutely amazing.

Also, I feel like I hate Alina and Mal, or maybe it’s just Mal that annoys me. I think I boarded the Alina and Nikolai ship. I have to say that I’m loving more and more of the characters like Tolya and Temar. They’re two great pillars in this book series and I can’t get enough of them!

I think this book did a great job of setting up for Ruin and Rising and if Leigh Bardugo’s writing is anything like the last book, Ruin and Rising seems quite promising (spoiler alert : I already read Ruin and Rising and it’s great…review to come).

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

10194157Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 5, 2012

Surrounded 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.

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I feel like I’ve been on a really good lucky streak with amazing books. I literally devoured this one in about two days and that’s really uncommon for me. I’ve picked up Shadow and Bone before but I didn’t really get into it so I put it down a couple times actually, and this time it actually stuck with me.

The Darkling captivated me as I’m sure he swept away most other readers, and Alina was awesome but I kept begging her to get over Mal. I think that was the one thing that really bothered me was the tug at a love triangle, but at the same time I HATED that Alina was so hung up on Mal. Not sure why, he’s a pretty good character, but I still couldn’t get over it for some reason. Maybe it’s because I got caught up with the Darkling (whoopsie! But I mean seriously…come on).

The overall plot and storyline was super engaging! No true lulls to the story and a constant stream of motion and action. I hope to see more of this Grisha Universe though, I read Six of Crows and I’m liking the more in depth look into the Grisha and who they are and how they work etc. etc.  I’m a bit worried as to what will happen in Book 2 since this book finished on a pretty solid note…

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Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Review

23437156Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Published: September 29, 2015

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


PERFECTION. 
That’s all you need to know for this review is that word. Because that’s what this book is.  If you want to see what my face looked like upon finishing this book, please reference the gif below:
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Yup that’s right. That’s exactly what it felt like. Lights and shiny things and everything and all I could do was sit there. Mouth open. Wondering what to do with myself BECAUSE THIS BOOK WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

I haven’t read a Leigh Bardugo book yet. And I heard the Grisha trilogy is amazing. and I know this takes place in the same world. But anyway I’m having trouble writing up this review because I don’t know where to begin with expressing how I feel. I guess characters is an okay place to begin.

Six delinquent characters, all very different in their own way, working together to one goal. To get into the Ice Court, the most impenetrable place and a most impossible task. The Ice Court is one of the most well guarded places. And this group of six has to get both IN and OUT of The Ice Court in order to rescue a scientist who has been held captive within the Ice Court. Each character is thoroughly different. Actually, everyone is leaps and bounds different than the next person. I have to give tons of props to Bardugo. Each character has their own share of flaws, and downfalls. Kaz, can never say no to a good sum of money, and the mastermind of this whole heist, Inej, a.k.a. the wraith is a silent killer, in love with her daggers, and tenacious, Nina a Grisha who is beyond charming and witty, Wylan a newcomer, a youngin’ and a boy who’s family tree proves to be something the group holds against him and Matthaias the druskalla (witch hunter) who holds his religion close and moral standing even higher to his home of the Ice Court and Jesper, the flirty, cunning and deadly shot. All of these characters work….less than flawlessly together but still somehow end up being a very tight group of misfits. You couldn’t really ask for more separate yet together group from this book. Each character is written to the point where you either go hate to love, love to love even more, or love to hate, or love to love to love love to love love love even more. Either way, at one point or another you find yourself  completely enamored with all of these characters.

The pace of this book was great. Never a dull moment, even during the points of travel. It was the perspective switching in my opinion that kept it moving and all the back story you got on each character was wonderful. And how each few characters intertwined with each other was absolutely flawless. It was the perfect amount of intertwined stories, not so much that all their lives revolved around oneanothers, but enough that you knew that they were tied to each other in one way or another. That being said. Thank god there were no love triangles because that would have completely ruined the book. BUT the romance that was there, was BEAUTIFUL. Wonderfully written and just the right amount! I couldn’t  have asked for a better romance (my favorite being between Nina and Mathaias) between the character pairs. And even if there wasn’t full fledged romance, it was still a good sense of caring and love between them. It was beautiful.

And now, for my final thoughts on action and plot. I don’t think there was a moment throughout this book where I felt lost or bored or even “over it”. Fully engaged throughout, and constantly having an issue with putting down Six of Crows. There were nights where I was up all night trying to get my full satisfaction in finding a spot where I could put the book down due to a lull so I wouldn’t miss anything, but no. There was no such thing. A constant moving and flowing river of perfection. The action was great and descriptive and I felt like I was part of the brawls and the cannons blasting and the bombs going off and the alarms sounding. I felt as though I was in Ketterdam and inside The Ice Court. It was one of the most immersive reads I’ve ever experienced. Thanks Leigh Bardugo for this wonderful book, I’ll have to pick up The Grisha Trilogy sometime soon.

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December Read Along : Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Hey Everyone!

So here’s a little update for those of you who missed it last Saturday. We’re collectively reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!

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Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


 

Beginning December 1 and going to the end of the month with discussions which we’ll post all up at once at the beginning of the month so you can go through the discussions at your own pace and don’t have to wait for us to post up discussions.

We’re still trying to figure out the best way to post up discussions and have as many people participate so help us out and let people know you’re participating in our read alongs!

We’ll be using social media outlets such as instagram, twitter and facebook to track through everyone’s progress as well as keep an eye out for a lucky winner for our give away (more details on that next week)We’re using the hashtag #winterofcrows  which apparently has the approval of Ms. Leigh Bardugo herself! (check out the 1st comment)
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So please, join us and however many others as we close the year off together with a GREAT read.
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