Recommendations · Reviews

Why I love the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

Grisha2

Siege and Storm – Ruin and Rising – Six of Crows – Crooked Kingdom

CW’s: Violence, Murder, Gore, Torture, Rape, Addiction

Hello fellow bookworms ❤ I recently binge read all the Grisha books with the help of the lovely Swetlana, so now it’s time to express my love for the Grishaverse! You might remember that I reviewed Shadow and Bone earlier this year, but today I will be reviewing all the remaining 4 books by naming 3 reasons each why I loved the book! (instead of writing 4 Reviews) So get ready for some Grisha love! I will definitely be reading the Nikolai book next year too, so there’s always more content for this world – I couldn’t be more happy about that 😍

Trenn Kopie

“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.” 

I loved seeing Alina’s struggles with her new role & power ❤ I mentioned in my last Review, that I LOVE Alina Starkov, as she has a lot of sass in her when the situation calls for it. She’s definitely funny when she wants to be, but also has so many different characteristics. She’s insecure, but not allowed to show it, now that she has to lead the rest of the Grisha against the Darkling and also struggles with feeling apart from that. She has a unique power and it’s definitely something that she now has to use to her advantage, but that also keeps others at arm’s length. There is a lot of pressure on Alina and she is often left with the hard choices and not feeling very understood. The fate of Ravka rests on her and it’s no easy task to keep everyone together. I have the highest respect for my girl!

Meeting Sturmhond was an absolute delight ❤ I knew I would love him before I even meet him, because everyone loves him. I was not disappointed, because he is absolutely witty, smart and charming. I adore funny characters, who are in it for the banter and always have a witty retort, so I enjoyed how much we got to see Sturmhond and how much he dissed Mal. As I’ll talk about below Mal annoyed me, so I was glad to see someone so unafraid to put him in his place and remind him of the stakes in this conflict. Sturmhond was also full of surprises and has a lot of different facades beneath how he likes to appear. There’s a lot to him and I especially loved his relationship with Alina. So the be honest, I personally never shipped them, because I didn’t really see any romantic chemistry or connection. However, I adored the friendship they built up, as Nikolai was always there for her and good for a bit of banter!

I … just love the Darkling okay ❤ He wasn’t in this book quite as much in the middle, but he’s still here in other ways, playing games with Alina. We also get a glimpse into the fact that Alina and him are truly unique with their power and that no one else can ever understand what it’s like to be in their shoes. I found that discussion to be fascinating, no matter what you think about them together, they have a few similarities, but also diverge in how they approach things. The Daring, after all is a villain, who is willing to do a lot of horrible things to ‘save’ Ravka. However, as I mentioned above Alina also struggles with the exhilaration of power and not turning into what he is. I truly adore a complex villain who has a progressing relationship with the heroine!

“We are alike,” he said, “as no one else is, as no one else will ever be.” The truth of it rang through me. Like calls to like.” 

Trenn Kopie

Na razrusha’ya. I am not ruined. E’ya razrushost. I am ruination.” 

I grew to love all the characters together ❤ They had to work together a lot now, so it’s not only Alina, but the Grisha of the Second Army, that she has led into battle. It became a fun ‘found family’ dynamic. I actually liked Zoya a lot more in this book and came to appreciate her biting remarks, as they made me laugh a few times. She’s definitely not an agreeable person, but now I think we really got to see a less 100% petty side & the capability for teamwork. There are a lot of other characters, including Tamar, who was introduced in the last book and who I loved very much. Alina is still one of my favorite characters here and I was rooting for her so hard to put an end to all of this. She’s still struggling a lot, especially with in the beginning being kept in isolation. Now she is also showing her want for power and the addictive effect it has on her: desiring to hurt and having to stop herself from hurting anyone. I loved tat dark side of her power and the amplifies she now carried, it was fascinating to watch her descent into struggling with being overwhelmed by her power. I

The plot was very high stakes ❤ I think this is probably on of the most solid plots of the trilogy and likely my favorite, because there were a lot of stakes and the pacing was a lot faster than in the past three books, which is fitting for a finale. This was definitely a book that was very good to binge read. I personally thought that this book was perfectly crafted to bring everything together and held a lot of great plot turns. The Darkling is still my favorite and now we’re facing off against him. I loved seeing Alina and his story coming to a close, because we learn a lot more about who he was back then, when he had no title yet. The scene where he tells her his name was amazing! The darkling does horrible things in this book, but we see a glimpse of who he was before the world corrupted him and he corrupted himself and others. I LOVED this so much! Generally, the book has so many great quotes and fascinating interactions, I was in love the whole time!

“It’s true,” I said softly. “You are stronger, wiser, infinite in experience.” I leaned forward and whispered, my lips brushing the shell of his ear. “But I am an apt pupil.” 

I actually really liked the ending ❤ I had heard so many people hating this book that I was super worried, but while I don’t agree on all what happened in the end, I thought it was a fitting ending for the trilogy. A lot of things that happened sounded very realistic to me and made sense given the entire buildup of the Series, so I was pleased with a lot of what went down! I cannot say more without a whole lot of spoilers, so only click if you’ve read the book!

SPOILERS

The thing is that I actually thought a lot of things that happened were very plausible. Was I sad that The Darkling died? of course, but I also expected it, because he is the villain and there was no need (at least in my opinion) for a redemption arc. Since the villain is usually the one to die im the end, I anticipate this and thought that how he was killed as very fitting. Alina is the one to end him, but  without any of her powers and I quite liked that he was killed in such a human way. That leads me to Alina herself and losing her powers. Sure it’s sad, but I thought that it was very realistic, given the amplifiers and how they affected her. Everything needs to have a cost, so I knew that there would be one for taking 3 amplifiers for herself and I was right. I mean obviously I wasn’t happy that she choose Mal, because I thought their relationship was forced and unrealistic, but I kind of predicted this as well. I did like her running the orphanage and helping kids like she once was, it’s not what I necessarily would have wanted for her, but I think it made Alina very happy to give back. I also liked that we saw her grieve her power!

“I’m the Sun Summoner. It gets dark when I say it does.” 

Trenn Kopie

The only thing I didn’t like about the Trilogy was Mal. He started out to be very bland and uninteresting to me, but got progressively jealous and petty in the second book. It was very annoying, because Alina had a lot on her plate and he was playing the sulking child. I also never found him to be a very compelling character, so I couldn’t really forgive any of his shitty actions throughout the books. He’s just a very selfish character, always wanting Alina to himself and getting all stuck with who they used to be instead of seeing who the are now. He got better in the third book, but that was my problem it was a complete turn of character out of the blue. There was no buildup and I could only guess at the reason he was suddenly completely different and saying all the right things instead of being who he was before. Obviously the author was trying to suddenly get him to change his opinions for him and Alina to get together, but it was not ver well done in my opinion. The relationship between Mal and Alina is also the childhood fiends to lovers trope done horribly wrong and the prime example of why I used to hate this trope. The problem is that they both have changed so drastically that it would be wholly unrealistic in real life of them to still get together. They have simply grown too far apart and holding on despite that is not very healthy. That’s why I felt like their romance was so inauthentic tome.

Trenn Kopie

 

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.” 

Our six outcasts are the heart of the story ❤ and also why it works to well. The characters are really what makes this story and why so many people adore it. I liked all of the characters and liked that they were so different from each other: everyone had their own background and reason why they were joining in on the heist. They all had something they wanted and a purpose beyond the heist, which was great to see!

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

Kaz ❤ is unlike any character I’ve seen which makes him unique and interesting to watch. I love morally grey characters, who have snark and have build up walls around their hearts, but Kaz was definitely unique in his own way. He’s not a good person, calculating and willing to blackmail and punish those who are not on his side. I loved how unapologetic Kaz was about using people, doing horrible things and keeping people in the dark. That made him a very fascinating character, as you never know with him. He’s also struggling with trauma and chronic pain, so we get that rep as well!

Inej ❤ is a very capable young woman, who is known as the Wraith for being such a good spy. I loved seeing Inej’s prayers to her saints and how she named her daggers after them. She is a survivor and determined to never go back to the hell she escaped when Kaz took her on. I loved how she challenged Kaz and proved to be one of the most important pieces in the heist. The only thing I didn’t like was how she sometimes seemed like she thought herself better than the rest of the crew & less of a criminal.

Jesper ❤ was an absolute delight, I loved his humor and carefree demeanor so so much! Jesper is definitely a fun guy that you want to have around as much as possible. He is a bit of a chaotic person, but I lobed that about him, as tat made it very fun to watch what he would do next. I like characters who are a bit of a disaster themselves and he was definitely that. However, Jesper is a lot more things: he could be charming, but also deeply ashamed of what he did.

Nina ❤ is amazing. She’s one of my favorite characters of the book, because she’s so charismatic and charming. I love that she loves food so much, that was very relatable – she has a sweet tooth for sure. She is just so very sympathetic, witty and confident, that you cannot help but love her and want her as your best friend. However, she can also be very impulsive and reckless, which is her ultimate downfall.

Wylan ❤ was the one I related most to, because he has no clue what it’s like to survive on the streets and gets dragged into this heist, which is so not his thing. We did see him progress a lot too, so tat was great to see! I loved how he was the softest of the bunch, but quickly grew very loyal and was willing to blow things up for his finds! I also felt very sorry for how he was treated by his horrible father.

Matthias ❤ did grow on me a lot to be honest. at first I was not so sure, as he’s a hunk of a guy and very stubborn and angry, but I liked him with time. Matthias is a drüskelle, a hunter of Grisha and so not up for this heist. He doesn’t want to be there, but he has no other choice and gets dragged into all these things. No matter how much he protests, he becomes part of the group and actually likes his comrades.

Trenn Kopie

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.” 

The dynamics of the whole team were amazing ❤ This is the second reason why this story works so well: it has a lot of amazing dynamics within the dregs, both of romantic and platonic nature. I found all of them fascinating and interesting to watch, as there were a lot of complex relationships, that felt very real and authentic!

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.” 

💕 Kaz & Inej. Both of them deal with a lot of trauma and touch aversion, so I liked that their relationship was very slow burn and subtle. It perfectly fit who they were as characters and was very realistic given their circumstances. Kaz very much cares for Inej but he is horrible at letting it show, as he’s got a reputation to keep and love very much interferes with that. However, it’s clear how much he cares for her and that she is not just an asset for him. Their relationship was beautiful to watch, as it was so well crafted!

“Nina might not be able to put you back, you know. Not without another dose of parem. You could be stuck like this.” 
“Why does it matter?” 
“I don’t know!” Jesper said angrily. “Maybe I liked your stupid face.” 

💕 Jesper & Wylan. I love them a LOT, because they have such an interesting dynamic. Jesper is pretty much the disaster one of the duo and Wylan, the kind of responsible one .. at least some of the time. I loved their teasing in the beginning, it was such pure banter. It was great to see how Jesper took him in and looked out for him at first. They are just so soft with each other, it was wonderful to watch and warmed my heart a lt! They grow even closer together as time wears on and it was so adorable!

“Oh, I see. I’m the wicked Grisha seductress. I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!”
She poked him in the chest.
“Stop that.”
“No. I’m beguiling you.” 

💕 Nina & Matthias. Here we’ve got some intense hate to love to hate to … whatever. They both have a history with growing close despite the odds (her being a Grisha and him being a drüskelle) and betrayal, which initially sours the relationship a lot. However, they seem to care about each other and eventually find their way back to each other. I love the contrasting relationship they have, which surprised me!

Inej & Nina. I loved them so much together!! I’m all here for strong female friendships and they immediately liked each other, which was amazing, yes give me more of that! You can clearly see how much they care about each other and I loved all their interactions! We love two power women, being friends with each other!

⭐ Kaz & Jesper. My heart was hurting very much for Jesper, as he was just trying to get Kaz attention and validation, which is not a very easy thing to do. Kaz is very good at keeping his emotions in check, but I really wished he had shown Jesper more forgivensss, as it was quite hard to watch Jesper so disappointed.

The whole heist in Six of Crows was fascinating to watch unfold ❤ I was on the edge of my seat for the entire time and loved to see how Kaz planned everything. It made for a very fast.oaced plot once things got started and made my heart race with all the possible complications that could happen and did happen. The heist was perfectly plotted and I have the highest regard for the author to really pull it off like that, I don’t know if I could to that. We also see all these outcasts working together, who don’t really trust the other and all have other motivations, which made for extra suspense, as you never know who would potential betray the mission and leave the others behind. I also liked that we have another element at play with the lethal jurda parem, that influences a lot of bigger picture settings.

“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

Crooked Kingdom was a great conclusion – even though there will be a book 3 sometime in the future ❤ I especially loved all the Grisha cameos here, as I really missed that characters and loved to see them meet our Six of Crows ones! We also see all the dynamics and characters progress which as amazing to see, I enjoyed every second with these characters. We see everyone struggling with what happened in the last book and move away from the heist to a high stakes game of survival. We still have the jurda parem storyline, as it needs to be stooped before the world of Grisha and everyone around them is completely stopped. I loved that we got this storyline, as it was a very fascinating one that could have horrific consequences. Overall, Crooked Kingdom was a wild ride for sure and packed a lot of suspension. I was very happy with the ending, as it was everything I could have wished for!

Talk Kopie

Have you read any of the Grisha books? What character is your favorite? ❤

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6 thoughts on “Why I love the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

  1. This was such a great mash up post for all things Grisha! I haven’t been able to read all the books yet (I’m about 30% of the way through Siege and Storm), and I’ve a confession – I’m more in love with the worldbuilding (which just blows my mind) than I am with the actual story. Alina is just meh to me, but maybe that gets better as the story progresses. You say that in the third book she is your favorite character, so I will hold out hope that she grows on me. Thanks for such lovely reviews 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! 💕 I do love the worldbuilding a lot, the combination of magic and the ‘science’ aspect is very interesting and the overall atmosphere is really great! 🙂 I always liked Alina, but I really think her character is very intriguing in the last book, so hopefully she grows on you 😄

      Liked by 1 person

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