Shadow and Bone Trilogy
I read The Shadow and Bone Trilogy in a span of a week and a half if I remember correctly. Overall, I enjoyed the experience. The story is great but it was slow paced for me. I don't mind the length of the books but only if they come packed.
The story was sparsely laid throughout the three books and it is in the second book that the most happened compared to others. Maybe that is the reason that I liked it more than the rest. From what I read somewhere online and realised, there are multiple plotholes and they are noticeable if one reads with full attention. The entire series was somewhat of a roller-coaster. Alina went from being a simple girl to being the saviour of Ravka, from being loved to being hated, from the being the hunter to being hunted and from being a gullible girl to being the most powerful Grisha and the entire ride was atleast enjoyable if not completely thrilling.
Shadow And Bone
This was the introductory book to the Grishaverse so a lot of the content was around making the reader acquainted with the Grishas - what the classes are and what they do. I still don't remember though what all the different types of Grisha are. Firstly, the name itself is Darkling. "Dark"ling. It should have hinted that he was gonna be the bad guy. But the way he was introduced in the book on the journey to Os Alta in the beginning made me feel like he was a great leader and worked for the benefit of his people. It was often emphasized in the journey that he sat with his people and what not and how he had described the Palace as the ugliest place on Earth. It hasn't been written anywhere but maybe it was all done to gain Alina's trust. Anyway, I had already guessed that the letters that Alina was writing to Mal were not reaching him because Mal seemed a really nice guy not to reply to the letters. Okay so Alina trains at the Little Palace and makes herself more powerful to destroy the fold. And then the plot twist comes. The "Dark"ling actuallly belonged to the dark side. Alina has to run away with Mal to save herself and the lives of others because the Darkling wants to expand the fold by gaining control over Alina by using Morozova's amplifier and expand the fold to rule over the world. Big Deal. Although I thought that Alina would be able to somehow stop the Darkling to gain control over her but it turned out to be untrue. The Darkling is successful in gaining control over her and he destroys some nearby city and kills people in it. But Alina manages to stop him after that destruction and runs away with Mal. Rest is left for the second book. Overall, the story was slow paced but good. Not amazingly, mind-boggling good but good.
For characters, I liked Genya and the Darkling. Genya seemed really nice. She helped Alina, had an eye over what happened around the Palace, had contacts and happily ignored all the taunts she received from other Grisha. The Darkling has his own history. Even though he is bad, he has his own reasons which seem justified from the point of view of a sinister mind.
Mal is alright. I mean he has great tracking and military skills and he fits into any place easily. Girls gape at him wherever he goes. I find it kinda sad that he doesn't have any Grisha powers.
Alina is just vanilla. Nothing special apart from being the Sun Sumonner. She was confused about Mal and the Darkling and I hated that. It felt like betrayal to Mal.
Siege and Storm
As said before, this is my favourite book in the trilogy. There are two reasons. First is that I thought this was the most densly packed compared to others and the second is Nikolai.
The story and the events were somehow better than the first one but I guess that is only because Nikolai was present in them. I liked everything about him. How he sacrificed his royal life and went to learn the art from gunsmiths and ship-builders, how he treats the people around him, how he treats himself. He has the brain of a mastermind and his plans always work out. Whatever problem people are in, he'll find a way out. And how quick he changes is character infront of others. It is kind of disturbing that the Nikolai one knows might not be the one he actually is. He knows the right people to open up to. He knows when to present himself like the Ravkan Prince, when to lead his fellows like Sturmhond and when to be the crazy lover. Also he knows when to back off from Alina and not piss her off.
The rest of the book is mediocre but better than the first one. The story moves slowly when it could have been faster.
By the end of the book, I liked Nikolai, Genya (even though she kind of betrayed Alina), the Darkling ofcourse, David and a bit of Zoya.
Alina and Mal are meh. Mal has loads of skills but he could atleast try to be funny.
Ruin and Rising
First of all everything to do with the Apparat did not contribute to the story much. Maybe Ruby and her gang joining in was the most that Alina could get out of spending the first few chapters with the Apparat and his worshippers. The Apparat himself is so boring. I mean instead of getting up everyday and pretending to worship Alina he could have been of more use throughout the time but he is so dumb. He himself literally said that he is the rat who survives in the farm by hiding after the animals are done fighting. After leaving the Apparat, they go on their journey to find Nikolai and it is Nikolai who finds them. And saves them. And takes them to his safe place. Then they get attacked at the safe place and have to run again. Throughout the trilogy, all Alina is doing is running and travelling if not being at the palace. Anyway, they run for their lives while Nikolai has turned to become so kind of shadow volcra with human heart. I honestly did not like this part and how he followed and contacted Alina while being a volcra. It was unnecessary and super weird. Anyway, they realise that Mal is the third amplifier and everything starts making sense to Alina. Although it doesn't to me. At all. In the final fight, she kills Mal but he doesn't die. The blood acts as the amplifier rather than the bones. It did not make sense to me. And what was the point of bringing him back to life and her losing her powers? I would have liked if Mal would have died and she would have gone with Nikolai. That is what Mal would have wanted and expected after his death. And Nikolai would have gotten a queen that could rule by his side.
The ending is what not I expected. But it is what the author wants in her story so that is what it should be.
People I loved in the Trilogy
I loved Genya. She's described to be the most beautiful person to walk in Ravka because of her Tailoring abilities as a Grisha. She maintined contacts with the cooks and other useful people in the Little Palace. She ignored the people bitching about her. And what he did with the king for the Darkling was pretty badass. Poisoning her lips and then burning the skin and healing it every single day. The king deserved to die for his mentality. Even though she did the Darkling's deeds, I could not help forgiving her when she came back to the right side because I am sure she wasn't doing all of the things willingly. She and David were great together. Her good nature was shown in the first book itself when it was indicated that she liked David. And what the Darkling did to her with his creatures was sad and I felt terrible for her. However since David really didn't care about how she looked, I was happy, At the end leading the Grisha Army with the help of Zoya and David was perfect thing to do.
David was like Henry from the Infernal Devices. All he wanted was to go to his workshop and spend his day developing new things without bothering anyone and without being bothered. He was an excellent Fabricator and one of the only ones that understood Morozova's works. Even the Darkling himself said that David was too precious to be lost and would have spared his life had he been caught. He crafted the first amplifier on the Darkling's orders and did not have any choice. He readily gave Alina all the information he had on Morozova's Amplifiers. And he did actually like Genya from the start, just did not express it.
Let's look at the things from the Darkling's perspective. He had a history. He was Morozova's grandchild since Baghra was Morozova's daughter. Baghra had taught him everything she could to help him survive the world that treated Grisha as threat because that is how she had seen the world. She had seen Morozova getting killed by the villagers because he had tried to resurrect his other daughter. The Darkling had taken the lessons to the heart and he had grown knowing that the people in the world looked at Grisha as warlocks and witches who did not deserve to live with humans. So he had decided to make the world one. Ravka everywhere. A place where all people lived in harmony with each other and with the Grisha.
Great taste but terrible execution. The Fold was not the way to do it. The Fold with it's volcra had shown what Grisha power can do to the world and it was definitely not the best way to propose to the world to accept Grisha as their own. And he had cared for Alina. He wanted to use her power for his own benefits and he had lied to her to gain her trust and later break it but he had cared for her nevertheless. And he would have killed anyone who let a scratch on her.
He had made Ravka one too. He knew that the king was useless. So he had taken charge and it was his orders that the court obeyed and his advice that the court looked for. He had taken the responsibilites of a king even before becoming one just like Nikolai. He was a great leader.
And at last he had a cool name. Aleksander. Not with an 'x' but with 'ks'.
Nikolai is my favourite character from the trilogy. He is the smartest and the funniest guy and the future-king of Ravka. He played the role of Sturmhond flawlessly and I liked him as Sturmhond too. But when he made the grand reveal and took up his true identity of Nikolai upon reaching Ravka, I was stunned. I thought I liked Sturmhond and the real Nikolai would actually be something different but he turned out to be even more charming. I like how he deals with the people above him, equal to him and below him. He treats everyone well within reason and follows his self-invented principles. He always treats his brother well even when his brother doesn't. And when he gains the knowledge of the king's deeds, he takes the justified decision of having a trial against him for Genya. Even Alina and Mal had looked up to him and his decisions. He also always wanted the best for Mal. Sending him away from Alina was the right thing to do and he took it in his own hands to ensure that.