Author: Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

Posted September 29, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 4 Comments

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Book ReviewRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #3
Also in this series: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 17, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 417
Format: Hardcover
Source: Birthday present
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5 Stars
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.

Oh MY gosh. Ruin and Rising is here!!!! Right!? Don’t worry, I read this right when it came out. It has just taken me this long to figure out how to write a review for it. Leigh Bardugo is my hero. Now, I can’t guarantee there won’t be spoilers for the first two books. And I can’t guarantee this review will be anything but a bunch of fangirling with no real point. But either way, here are my thoughts. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Before I even begin, can we all just have a moment of silence for the end of the Grisha trilogy? I am SO sad it’s over.

2. This book broke my heart and then put it back together again. I mean, oh wow. The Darkling. Mal. Sturmhond/Nikolai. I just can’t.

3. I will take Nikolai for myself and not let you have him. He is just so perfect. I have grown to love him so much through each book.

4. Everything I said I loved about the first two books, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, are still valid. Plus I love these things MORE.

5. Leigh Bardugo made some very brave and almost rebellious decisions with how everything turned out and how everyone ended up. People die. And you’ll care about it. Since Leigh owned these decisions, though, they WORKED. She did not go about this halfway. She jumped in the middle of a dark and deep pit of sharks with a bloody paper cut on her thumb and said, “Bring it on.” This lady has GUTS.

6. The writing just slayed me. Oh, the beauty and the dynamism. If Leigh re-wrote the dictionary, I would read it.

7. There was so much action and excitement, and ALL my questions were answered. And the ending was amazing.

I wish I had been more emotionally equipped to write a more thorough review, but we all know that doesn’t happen often with the end of a trilogy. I loved it, bottom line. You need to read this trilogy. And, chances are, you already have since you’re being brave and reading my review. But if you haven’t or if you haven’t finished it yet, just DO it. It’s amazing and wonderful and definitely my favorite trilogy ever.


Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

Posted June 14, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2
Also in this series: Shadow and Bone, Ruin and Rising
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 4, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 435
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
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5 Stars
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.

Oh. My. People, Leigh Bardugo is my hero. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved Shadow and Bone. I thought for SURE there was no way to top it ever. BUT Siege and Storm is perfection! I was over the moon when I received my ARC, and I dropped everything to read it. Honestly, I have no idea how to even review this one. No idea. My brain wheels are spinning so fast, but then I type and nothing makes sense! I just loved it, and that’s that. I will do my best, but basically it all boils down to the fact that you just HAVE to read this even if you think Fantastical futuristic Russia, sexy male leads, a kick-butt heroine, and feeling is not for you. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Everything I loved about Shadow and Bone showed up in Siege and Storm. I was flooded with feels, swoons, and gasps. OH MAN. It’s like I’m reliving it.

2. The World. We learn so much more, and we are introduced to new places! Like the OCEAN. And there’s a sea monster and privateers! Need I say more?

3. Alina is SO much stronger! I didn’t think it was possible, but she’s just crazy nuts now. She’s more powerful, and she knows it. And I love watching her struggle as she tries to keep this power in check without succumbing to the darkness. She’s beginning to identify more with The Darkling, which puts a bit of a rift between her and Mal. And I totally understand why she’s drawn to him, as he is still just as alluring in that dangerous bad-boy kind of way. But oh, is he scary. But then he’s not… because he can be so understanding towards Alina. He totally gets her, and this softens me a bit. It’s kind of romantic. He’s like a drug. I kinda love him, but he’s just not good. I’m so torn.

4. So, we have this new guy Sturmhond. I LOVE HIM. He’s one of those suave sailor guys who can’t say anything wrong, and he totally steals the show. He’s just so dashing and cocky that you can’t help but flutter your eyelashes. The things he comes up with had me laughing. He’s so dynamic, that even though he’s new to the scene he makes a place for himself and makes sure he’s not overlooked. He brings out a lot of great things in Alina, as he coaches her and sticks by her side. And he’s really mysterious and hard to figure out because he’s a privateer. Who is he looking out for? Which side is he on? Gah, the complexity. I’m already planning our winter wedding.

5. Mal… I feel like he’s fallen to the back of the pack a little. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s a soldier among Grisha and royalty, if he’s not supportive enough of Alina and her place in this world, or if he’s just got a lot on his mind. Whatever the case may be, I’m totally ok with this because we’ve got more room for action and craziness. Rather than focusing on him and Alina, Leigh has chosen to showcase other characters (like my future husband), as well as the ongoing battle between Alina and The Darkling. I love that this entire trilogy has SO much more going on than love triangles.

6. Leigh’s writing is still gorgeous. She can go from writing deep feelings to crazy battle scenes to detailed descriptions of Grisha powers. I mentioned it in my review of Shadow and Bone, and I’ll mention it again: if Leigh’s writing was not so amazing this book would be just another fantasy novel.

7. And… again… everything happens! There’s no mindless dialogue or details nobody cares about (I really hate needless details). Everything written on these pages is written for a purpose. Events are strung together so fast, but with transitions that do not cause whiplash. I was always on my toes wondering what was going to happen next, and I was completely engrossed. Siege and Storm really reads like a movie.

OH MAN. I want to go back and read S&B and S&S all over again for the first time! I just love this series. Leigh really has jumped to the top of my most beloved authors list. I will follow her and her books to the ends of the earth. Just read them.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

Posted May 2, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 18 Comments

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Also in this series: Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 5, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 356
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

PEOPLE. I have no idea why I took so long to read Shadow and Bone. Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge fan of fantasy, but I AM NOW! This book was chock full of awesomeness and excitement and mystery. I just can’t contain my love for this book, and for Leigh Bardugo, who I am now a fan of for life. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This WORLD. Oh wow. My absolute favorite thing about Shadow and Bone is the world Leigh created for us. I love all of it, from its setting in futuristic Russia, to the elaborate keftas, to the mysterious Shadow Fold (a dark and barren wasteland filled with volcra, which I swear are some kind of dragon on steroids), and all the awesome talents of the Grisha. This world is complicated and complex with its own language. It’s amazing.

2. Leigh’s writing is out of this world. OH man. Have you seen that episode of Friends with Ross’s wedding in London, and Joey is having a hard time figuring out how to read his map, so he puts it on the ground and stands on it, putting himself INTO the map so it made more sense? That’s what Leigh did to me! I was IN the book, and I could picture and see everything. It all made so much sense, and I absolutely loved everything. Had the writing not been so amazing, this book would have flopped.

3. Alina. Oh, Alina. Talk about an amazingly bad-a heroine. I love her! She’s just a run of the mill girl one day, and then all of a sudden she’s Ravka’s everything. She gets swept up into the magic and excitement of the lavish castle, and gets to wear fancy clothes, dine on yummy foods, and be the topic of every conversation. But through it all, she stays humble, really just wanting to become a part of the wall or the floor rather than shine. She’s timid and scared and confused, and she feels inadequate. But as the story progresses, she grows into this brave, confident young woman who will sacrifice and cause problems and fight for herself.

4. Oh, the Darkling. MAN. I’d heard stories about him floating around the blogosphere, and now finally understand what everyone has been talking about! He’s dark and sexy and charming and dangerous, and people are just drawn to him for some mysterious reason. Reading about him was rather intoxicating. I was drawn to him too! But like I said, he’s dangerous… and I swear, I always love the dangerous character!

5. MAL. Can I have Mal for myself? Mal is Alina’s childhood friend, who she has never really been able to live without. But when she is taken to the castle, and he is made a tracker for the kingdom, they lose each other. What a beautiful friendship they have. He’s brave and protective and SO full of secrets and depth. 

6. The romance is perfection. There’s not too much, not too little, nothing really insta-love… it all makes sense for the circumstances. I loved it. And that’s all I will say, because it’s too good to even come close to spoiling.

7. I feel like everything happens! Shadow and Bone is chock full of adventure, mystery, action, emotion, romance, opulence, relationships, and questions. The ending is just… urg.se.rgusheg;sghus.ergisjherg!

Clearly, I loved Shadow and Bone. I have nothing bad to say about it, and can’t stop thinking about it at ALL. I read this one really fast, and when I was not reading I was thinking about it. If you love fantastic world-building, strong characters, mystery, intrigue, romance of extreme proportions, and beautiful writing, you will love Shadow and Bone.

Watch the book trailer for Shadow and Bone! Pretty amazing!

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