Shadow and Bone & Siege and Storm (Grisha trilogy books 1 and 2) by Leigh Bardugo.
Read it: if you like your adventure with a dash of magic and romance.
Overall rating: 9.5
So, this is a first: a review of two books at the the same time. It’s not ideal, but I feel that I have no choice since I only paused for about 3 minutes (at most) between reading the entire first book and the entire second book. Which tells you a lot about how invested I was in the story.
The basis of this series is not an uncommon one in fantasy: a person who thinks she is average discovers she has some kind of occult power and therefore a greater destiny. It is a classic premise and one that I love. In Smoke and Bone and Siege and Storm, this is accomplished with glorious finesse. The writing is good, the characters are engaging, and the world is creative and fascinating. The plot is a roller coaster; I was taken entirely by surprise more than once, which you know is basically my favorite thing. I am also seriously crushing on at least two of the main male characters.
The characters are also very complex, and I don’t just mean the main characters. Even peripheral characters have complicated motivations and clearly have multi-faceted thoughts and feelings about their lives. Except, possibly, for the classic “mean girl” character, but maybe there’s more to come from her in the third book. Either way, she serves her purpose and I don’t mind.
This series is somewhat guilty of a trope that irritates me conceptually: that of an unattractive female protagonist who becomes attractive by the end of the book. Do women always have to be beautiful to achieve great things? I say no. However, the way that Leigh (I’ve decided we’re on first name terms now because she tweeted me) accomplishes this in the Grisha books actually makes sense with the universe of the story, and the way that everything plays out makes me forgive it. I would say more but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
I can’t help but notice that every book I’ve given a 9.5 or above features a strong female protagonist who can do some kind of magic. Apparently I know what I like, and what I like is girl power.
I’m not sure what else I can tell you. I read these books straight through. If your taste is anything like mine, read these as soon as possible.
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