Last year Netflix introduced me to the fascinating Grishaverse of Leigh Bardugo. The magical world of Grishas immediately gripped me and left me craving for more. While waiting for the next season, I thought of going through the original Grishaverse trilogy, starting with Shadow and Bone. And it’s my personal belief that generally, books offer a more vivid representation of the story that the author intended and personally, a new fantasy buys me anytime.
The prologue introduces Alina Starkov and Malyen Oretsev or Mal, two central characters of the story arc, and the unique bond between them since their early days in the Duke’s House(orphanage). Furthermore, ‘the women in red’ introduces Grisha: “We are not witches. We are practitioners of the Small Science. We keep this country and this kingdom safe.”
Early in the story, another important character who inspires love and hate in almost equal amounts from the readers – The Darkling is also introduced. The author slowly introduces other concepts of Grishaverse over the coming chapters and different types of Grisha their capabilities and purpose overall. The author does an excellent job of catching the reader’s attention and explaining the world around one step at a time.
Fantasies are generally known for the overwhelming details which the readers are drenched in early introductions to the new world. As the readers start to appreciate the new rules and the world around the story, it makes sense. But Leigh Bardugo does a great job of not overwhelming the readers and explaining simply her vision of Grishaverse to them.
The fold serves as a vital element of the present story arc in the Grishaverse. Its mysterious nature, origin, and sinisterness are explained, and the primary story revolves around it. It is central to giving purpose to Alina’s powers.
Shadow and Bone is a coming of the age story of Alina, how she realises her powers and various internal conflicts within her. But it seems her character development left a lot more to be desired. I didn’t find her a solid female protagonist compared to other leading female protagonists from other fantasies like Katniss from The Hunger Games or Bryce from The House of Earth and Blood (which I read recently, and its review can be read here). Other Characters were also not that extensively developed, and much was left on that front. But thinking this story expands into a trilogy, I believe the author has more space to develop these characters fully.
Overall it’s an enjoyable read, the world-building is solid, and most of the concepts are well explained by the author. There are some differences between the TV version and the Book, but I find those differences are for the good and overall, the TV version does justice to the Book and adds elements that add value to the storyline.
The ending is on such a note that readers are left hanging and wanting more. I will be returning to check the remaining books of the trilogy and plan to continue with other books of the Grishaverse. Total points to Leigh Bardugo for developing this gripping fantasy world to keep the readers occupied for time to come.
- Total pages: 323
- Genre: Fantasy
- Shadow And Bone : Leigh Bardugo