**This review contains spoilers**
I appreciated ‘Siege and Storm’ a bit more than ‘Shadow and Bone’. This installment in the Grisha series heavily ventures into military strategy and royal influence as Alina fights to defeat the Darkling and restore peace to Ravka. Alina generates a following among commoners and Grisha alike, as many see her as the ‘Sun Saint’ who will bring an end to chaos. I appreciated viewing Alina’s friendship with Nikolai, as he uses his power of royalty to school her in military etiquette, as well as navigating diplomacy.
What I didn’t appreciate was the fact that Alina’s communication with Mal constantly led to lovers’ quarreling. Both characters have passionate feelings toward each other, yet Alina allowed her emotional bond with the Darkling interfere with restoring honesty in her relationship with Mal.
I absolutely enjoyed the final battle scene in the book. It contained just the right elements of action and shocking revelations.
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
‘Shadow and Bone’ is the first novel from the Grisha trilogy. It tells the story of Alina Starkov, an orphan in Ravka raised in the care of Duke Keramsov. Alina grows up to train within the First Army as a mapmaker, and her team heads out on a mission into the treacherous Shadow Fold one night. They get attacked by Volcra, a savage legion of dark creatures that dwell within darkness. It is through this excursion that Alina’s power as a Sun Summoner is unleashed to everyone’s shock, including Alina herself. She then gets swept into the world of the Grisha, a group of powerful Summoners, Healers, and Fighters led by the Darkling. Alina becomes consumed into a world she only dreamed about, while pining for her friend Mal, her dear friend from the orphanage who is now a valued tracker in the First Army.
During the first half of the story, I was enjoying it. I love the trope of ‘orphan discovering a hidden power+magical school training’, and I wanted to see where this story would lead next. Then the plot turned into Alina and the Darkling navigating their feelings for each other, followed by a sudden twist that causes Alina to search for the true meaning of her power. She also struggles to rebuild her relationship with Mal, as they both grow to understand their respective abilities. I’m not a big fan of ‘budding romances in the midst of saving the world’, but I’m reading YA, so that comes with the territory! The story does have a good ending, though.
I did find the story entertaining, and since ‘Shadow and Bone’ is being made into a series for Netflix, I’ll now have an understanding of who the characters are. And I plan on reading the other two books in the Grisha series. I’m thankful for the ‘magical training’ thread in the stories.
My rating: 3.5 / 5 stars