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Re-read: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Re-read: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 5, 2012 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 12, 2014
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

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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This was quite the interesting re-read for me… I think this was the first re-read in which I had two totally different expectations going into it: When I first picked up SHADOW AND BONE almost two years ago (!!!), I was not a fantasy reader. I think I had read Graceling first and that was about it, so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of a new fantasy book and it turned out that I loved it! I was really scared going into the re-read this time because I had since fallen in love with this series and was afraid that the re-read just wouldn’t be the same. Honestly, I did read the book entirely differently. Well, in two ways — I bought the audiobook from Audible because I’ve started to really enjoy doing my re-reads via audiobook and also because I been obsessing over the series for two years now and all of the THINGS that I know, I’m able to pick up on so much more with a re-read.

I must say, re-reading SHADOW AND BONE really proved to me how amazing SIEGE AND STORM was. As someone who wasn’t a fantasy reader before, I very much appreciated the whole revelation of having powers, learning how to use them in that almost boarding school-type setting, and the romances involved but reading all of these things a second time and especially after reading SIEGE AND STORM came across totally differently. Honestly, TOTALLY. For one, I already knew Alina had powers and exactly what they entailed, so I wasn’t as interested in the figuring out process so much as paying attention to the other details that I may have glossed over in my first read. The whole learning process actually wasn’t as appealing to me the second time around, I think because I really already knew how it happened so I was ready to dive into more character development of secondary characters which didn’t happen as much in the first book as it does in the second. SHADOW AND BONE is very much about Alina and about Mal and about their ties to the Grisha so my impatience didn’t exactly pay off haha. But of course, it was still enjoyable to go through that experience again!

I read the romance aspect of this book entirely differently the second time around. During my first read, I did not get what was the big deal about Mal. I liked him and I loved his friendship with Alina but I didn’t fall for him (or the Darkling, really, but that’s another story) the way other readers did. During my re-read. YEAH. MAL. I’M THERE. I really got to know him better in SIEGE AND STORM so that made my connection in this re-read stronger but WHOO BOY, that best friend romance thing going on there…. *fans self* How was I not more into this during my first read!? I don’t understand. Because best friends falling for each other is a trope that I luuuurve and I was totally on board with it during my re-read. I also felt less love-triangley about the Darkling because knowing what I know now, it seemed more like a power play than a romance and I had it in my head that way more happened than it actually did in the book. Since I already knew about the world-building side of the book, I did pay more attention to the romance this time around which hadn’t really seemed to play a big part for me during my original read.

Speaking of world building, that was something I really enjoyed even more. The more I read about this world, the more I fall in love with it. It’s always a little difficult to get a grasp on a new world with unique (and foreign) names so now that I know a little more about the Grishaverse, I really got a hold on what happens where and exactly what’s involved. As far as plotting and characters go, obviously now I know their connections, but even then I was formulating new theories about the Darkling and why we don’t know his name yet and what if it’s related to or connected to characters we’ve already met and don’t know it?!

I think I enjoyed my original read a little bit more than the re-read but I am even MORE anxious to re-read SIEGE AND STORM and I’m still salivating over RUIN AND RISING and dreaming about how it’s SO CLOSE. I’m still in love with this world and this series and it will be bittersweet to end in June but I still can’t wait!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Related but unrelated note: I wish that Goodreads let you update reading progress differently if you’ve already read a book, but such is life. (Take note, please.) You get a sneak peek at my original read’s notes in which I only updated one time. Must have been GOOD!

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Alina // Character Obsessions: Mal, drawing, light, Grisha.
Wow, Alina was suuuuuch a brat when this book started! I don’t think I realized how short she was with people and even for the state she was in at the beginning of the book, she was a bit immature and selfish. That being said, I really enjoyed watching her progress throughout the book and how her instructors really pushed her and didn’t care about her attitude and were happy to give her attitude back. I think she needed that push and once she really came into her powers and started to feel confident in herself, that sour personality seemed to melt little by little.
Mal // Character Obsessions: Tracking, flirting, friendships, Alina.
MAL. How dare you go under my radar in my first read!! How did that even conceivably happen…? Sigh. I just really loved Mal in this book and I didn’t even realize it until I read it all again. I love the best friends having FEELINGS for each other and this just really killed me. So many heartbreaking things to watch that develop and almost never come into existence and then even more heartbreaking and bittersweet once it does.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The Grishaverse. Oh, dear friends, I just love this world. I loved being able to see the introduction to it all over again and really get to know the corners of it even better. I got to see where things originally took place and picture them even better in my head.
Left Me Wanting More: Secondary characters. I do still love Genya’s involvement but we don’t really dive into secondary characters until SIEGE AND STORM — at least, not into as much detail. That was totally not an issue, really, but something I noticed looking back. They really do complement the main characters so well!

Addiction Rating
Re-read it!

Get your re-reads in! Either before RUIN AND RISING or just finish the series and start it all over again. I’m anxious to re-read SIEGE AND STORM now and I think I will fall in love with that one even MORE upon re-reading.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SHADOW AND BONE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Cinder       Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Fan Art: Game of Thrones Sigils for Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha Trilogy

A couple weeks ago, Alyssa was reading SHADOW AND BONE for the first time so naturally, we got in a grand discussion about it. We looked up all of the Grisha powers and decided which ones we would be (I’m a Squaller, in case you were wondering). I was looking at Leigh Bardugo’s website with those fantastically designed sigils/shields for each of the Grisha Orders and the idea came to my head to create sigils for the main characters, Game of Thrones style. The GoT ones are generally a bit plane, so I took my own liberties in adding some extra flourishes because hey. It’s my art. I can!

So without further ado, here are the sigils I created for The Darkling, Alina, Sturmhond, and Mal.

THE DARKLING

TheDarklingSigil

lines

ALINA

AlinaStarkov

lines

STURMHOND

Sturmhond

lines

MAL

Mal

 

That’s it for now! If you choose to use these pictures or re-post them anywhere, PLEASE link back to me! 🙂 Hope you all enjoy them!
I’m thinking of doing this for more series as well… Knowing my love for The Lunar Chronicles, that will probably be next haha! If anyone has any recommendations or suggestions, I’m always open! I am by no means a photoshop pro, but I have fun with my amateur skills and I think these turned our pretty well!

 

Review: Shadow and Bone Novellas + Extras

    

The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5)
The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5)
The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5)
by Leigh Bardugo

Completed: June 18, 2013
Source: The Witch of Duva + The Too Clever Fox read on Tor.com; The Tailor read on Facebook.com (all available to read for FREE!)
Genre: Fantasy
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha#1) // Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) // Casting Call: Shadow and Bone // Five Good Reasons to Read Recap! // Fierce Reads Tour 2012 Recap

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The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo is easily one of my favorite series (dare I say it) of all time, so when I was having a bad day at work the other day, I snuck in all three of these series extras to brighten my day. Granted, they’re not all exactly bright and sunny stories, but good writing will always make me feel better, even if the content is a little on the darker side!

THE WITCH OF DUVA

I started with THE WITCH OF DUVA, which is a Ravkan folk tale about… well, the witch of Duva. Girls keep disappearing mysteriously with only the slightest trace left behind. In the suffering town of Duva, the girls no longer wander alone and parents try to keep their girls indoors for fears that the witch will snatch them up and take them away. This tale follows Nadya, her father Maxim, and his father’s new love interest Karina Stoyanova who Nadya suspects may be the town’s awful witch.
This story was dark for sure — it reminded me a bit of Hansel and Gretel from Nadya’s encounters with a real witch who lives deeper in the woods and a few events that occurred towards the end of the tale. Pieces of the tale were a bit shocking, others gruesome, others enlightening. While I suppose all folk tales & fairy tales are fictional (or at least fiction based on possibly true stories), this really felt like I was reading a fairy tale that has existed for centuries. Even the fact that fans of The Grisha Trilogy get to read these folk tales really makes the world come alive that much more. I feel like these characters are real people by getting this extra layer of their history.

THE TAYLOR

THE TAYLOR is a snippet of SHADOW AND BONE told from Genya’s point of view. Genya was actually one of my favorite characters from SHADOW AND BONE because of her personality and her friendship with Alina. Although THE TAYLOR is listed to come in between books one and two, I’m actually glad that I read it after SIEGE AND STORM because of certain events in book two that show another side of her character. I don’t think it will spoil anything to read it before S&S, but for me personally, I was glad to know a bit more about her character as a whole before starting THE TAYLOR.
It was nice to read about Genya because we not only get her point of view from one of her encounters with The Darkling (Helloooooo, Darkling!), but also we receive a little backstory of how Genya came to work for the Queen, how their relationship evolved and deteriorated, and what really goes on behind the scenes in the palace. It was just a quick little snippet (only 15 pages), but I was glad to have that little something extra from Genya!

THE TOO-CLEVER FOX

In SIEGE AND STORM, Alina compares Sturmhond to the Too-Clever Fox so it was really fun to be able to read the folk tale that accompanied this thought. I feel like The Too-Clever Fox is really somewhat of a fable more than just a tale because there’s a nice little “moral of the story” at the end and we learn something from the fox’s encounters in this tale.
I loved how clever the fox was and there were even some tiny twists, making the entire tale clever in itself. This story wasn’t as gruesome as THE WITCH OF DUVA, but it’s also not without it’s own touch of villains and it does get a little dark at times. It’s billed as #2.5, but really this can be read at any point in time in the series. It’s another folk tale, like THE WITCH OF DUVA, so there really aren’t any spoilers or major plot points for the series.

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Go read them! All three of these are available to read online for FREE (I think you have to ‘like’ some content on Facebook before you can read The Taylor, but still free) and they were really great additions to add more depth to the series. Leigh Bardugo is a master at her craft and I easily got swept away in each of these short stories.

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     Shadow and bone      Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 30, 2014
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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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OMG, YOU GUYS. Siege & Storm. SIEGE AND STORM!! It was amazing. And now I need to write a review for it… Where do I even start? So right off the bat, I was in love with SIEGE & STORM. This book hits the ground running with lots of exciting action, reuniting readers immediately with Alina & Mal, and introducing one of my favorite new characters, Sturmhond. I have to say that the action throughout the book was incredible. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book — there are periods of time where the story slows down and we get more of a slow build to the overall plot, but even that was exciting! I honestly took a step back from the book and sat there in awe as I was reading because I had to wonder how Leigh Bardugo not only came up with this story and its details, but observed how well it was written. Leigh Bardugo’s writing is eloquent, exciting, funny, thoughtful… The book honestly amazed me from start to finish.

The characters that Leigh Bardugo has developed all feel so REAL. We definitely see a new Alina in the end of SHADOW & BONE and we continue to see how she’s changing even more by coming into her power in SIEGE & STORM. I felt like Mal was much more present in this book than he was in S&B, at least for me personally. I didn’t really get into the romance until the end of Shadow & Bone and although I felt like it was still a little slow to develop in SIEGE & STORM as well, it was still SO good and I think I much prefer it that way than introducing it too soon. The romance didn’t take over the story because really, the primary focus is Alina’s powers and her role as possible savior of Ravka. The romance surely does help mold and shape this major plot line and it was wonderful to read, but I was just glad I felt like the powers and the magical elements were still the main focus of this book.

You may be happy (or unhappy) to know that The Darkling is still a major part of this book! I admit, I was a little concerned because for some reason I felt like he was going to fall into the background in book two, but nope. He is back with a vengeance and it’s delightfully wicked. Book two is (no pun intended) much darker than book one and readers really get to see more into the history of things as well, both from Alina’s side and The Darkling’s side. I loved all of the history/mythology/legends that we get as a background in SIEGE & STORM. Sometimes it’s not easy to picture a fabricated history as real, but I found myself gobbling it up and just wanting more and more clues, more and more details.

My final opinion of the book is that if you liked SHADOW & BONE, you’ll love SIEGE & STORM. I guess if you LOVED the first book, you’ll love this one even more (I hope)! I feel even more amazed than I was with book one. The plot and the characters are just SO well done and I felt like everything was just an expansion of what went on in SHADOW & BONE instead of introducing too many new things. This was truly a continuation of a series and it didn’t feel disjointed as so many second in a series do to me. I was overjoyed with how much I loved this book and I cannot WAIT for everyone to read it and love it as much as I did!!!

view_from_goodreads1reading

You may notice from the reading progress picture above that I actually started SIEGE & STORM on April 8th and didn’t finish until April 30th. Usually that’s an extremely long time for me to read a book. Yes, I did put it down so I could read for a couple other obligations, but honestly? This was a book I wanted to savor. I really took my time reading it, made sure I was in the right frame of mind, and really did not want to rush through it at all. I really took it all in and to be honest, I kind of didn’t want it to end!

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Alina: Alina got way more complex in S&S! She’s definitely dealing with a lot and can even see herself changing… But it’s a slippery slope and it’s difficult to be a teenager AND be in love AND have powers AND save the world. All of her reactions and emotions felt so real, though. Sometimes with the main characters, I feel like too often their actions fit just to make the story work but this really seemed like I was watching Alina’s life and really seeing her make decisions. They weren’t always the right ones, but I could always understand what was going on in her head.
Mal: You know…. I wasn’t totally sold on Mal in S&B. I felt like he was MIA in part of the book so I was just missing that connection with him. Right from the beginning in S&S, I totally connected with him and I’m so glad he played such a huge part in so many different aspects of the story. I also have suspicions about him and I’m not sure if I’m just making something out of nothing, but I can’t wait to see his role in book three! Oh geez, that’s still so far away. How do I get into Leigh Bardugo’s mind to answer these questions…?
The Darkling: Ooooh boy, he sure is dark! The Darkling becomes an even more complex character and has a much creepier presence in S&S. I actually kind of loved him as a villain because I loved to hate him in this book. So many interesting things going on with his whole story as well! You just have to read it!!

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Buy it… NOW!

WHEWWWW holy cow. This book was SO good. This is the best I’ve felt about a book in a looong time and I’m just so over the moon right now.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SIEGE AND STORM

     Through the Ever Night      The Darkest Minds

Oh yeah, and there’s also a GIVEAWAYYYYY!!! I’m passing my ARC of Siege and Storm along to one lucky winner! Only thing you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Sorry, this giveaway is open to US/Canada residents only! Good luck!!!

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Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 5, 2012 by Macmillan
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 26, 2012
Related Posts: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

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.

bookreview1

Once again I find myself singing the praises of high fantasy! I’d seen tons of praise for this book pretty much everywhere and after seeing Leigh Bardugo at Anderson’s Bookshop first on the Fierce Reads tour in June and again at Anderson’s on August 30th (although I actually finished the book before then!), just seeing her personality and hearing her talk about the book and how she came up with it really drove me to get into the story.

I absolutely loved the development of the Grisha and the story behind their history and abilities. It seemed utterly magical but as we learn more about the talents, there’s a little bit of practicality mixed in as well. It was really interesting to learn about and I found it quite unique.

Another thing I really enjoyed is that the romance aspect isn’t overdone. We first learn that Alina has developed a crush on Mal in the very beginning of the book, so that’s something we already know, but since Mal is also her best friend and pretty much only friend, that also makes him so much more to Alina. He’s incredibly important to her and it’s not just a lust factor. As for The Darkling….. well that’s just a pure lust situation!

So yes, I really loved where the story went and I loved how it all came together in the end! Leigh Bardugo’s writing was also extremely enjoyable and I loved the new elements that she brought to the story.

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Alina: I didn’t find myself like Alina so much as I could understand her. As an orphan, Alina grew up alone. She’s stubborn, she’s protective, she’s independent; it’s not like I’d want her for my friend but I admire her courage and determination to make the best of herself and the situation she came from. It did get a bit tiresome at first once Alina was figuring out her abilities and once she became part of the Grisha society that she spent most of her time trying not to be noticed and pining for Mal. But then the more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense. If you’re a person who’s not used to attention, it’s overwhelming when people are constantly praising you, following you around, and giving you special treatment. As a poor orphan, Alina never experienced anything like that before. Even though her ability is extraordinary, it’s now something that has put her in an uncomfortable spotlight and ripped her away from her only family – Mal.
The Darkling: **Mild spoiler alert in The Darkling section (it’s not really a spoiler, but if you want to be kept totally in the dark, skip this part!)** He’s mysterious, he’s sexy, he’s…. old? We find out that due to the nature of The Darkling’s power, it severely enlongates his life. He reveals to Alina that he’s well over 100 years old so um, thanks but no thanks? It’s kind of a TWILIGHT situation here (which somehow I was totally okay with in TWILIGHT but not okay with in SHADOW AND BONE — I don’t know — don’t ask me why). I can understand he looks sexy and he acts sexy, but.. but.. he’s an old man? So yeah, he totally just didn’t appeal to me after I heard that! Had the age not been a factor, we’d have a little bit of a swoon situation going on. After knowing that? Yipes.

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 Buy it!

This book was sooooo good. I’m SO glad I picked it up and really glad that the Anderson’s even introduced me to it!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SHADOW AND BONE