Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Stuff

Spoiler-free Review of The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Hey Pals!! Today, I’m going to be reviewing an entire trilogy 🀩.

Once again, I have no idea why I used that emoji πŸ™‚. But maybe it’s just the fact that I’m a little excited about reviewing a series as a whole. We’ll see how well that goes though, let’s get started! Here is- Spoiler-free Review of The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.


Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his lifeβ€”a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

The Plot:

I have quite mixed feelings about the plot. While it does have the “chosen one” element to it, I don’t think it was…bad. It was fun to read, and the pacing was really good. In each of the books, the characters try to find a certain significant animal, and yet it wasn’t too repetitive. Something or the other kept happening to make each book a little different from the one before. So, I must say the plot of well-executed.

The Characters:

Alina sucked πŸ˜ƒ.

Well, not really. I mean she was way too unrealistic, she went from being this sad little girl in the first book to the one who is suddenly so sure of herself when she kisses the Darkling just to rid him of his powers…πŸ™‚. But I’m glad to say the final book made me think of her as a human being and not just a revolutionary brainless, supposedly ugly character.

Then we have ✨The Darkling ✨.

I know I’m using the gifs from the show but well, desperate times call for desperate measures-

What do I say? I disliked him at first but I liked him a lot towards the final book. In the first two, he was just kind of meh. Then his character and personality got so much better as the books progressed. We got to see layers behind his motives and actions and it was nice. And I hate to admit it but he’s also kinda…gorgeous 😍.

Then we have Mal.

I don’t have that many strong feelings for him, except that I love him as a person. He’s so kind and yeah, he was kind of weird in his relationship with Alina at first, but he got better. He was really sweet.

If you’re waiting for Nikolai…

Pic taken from Pinterest

You’ll be delighted to know I am in the minority here when I say I do not have that many strong feelings for him πŸ˜’. In the second book, he was just fine, nothing special. In the last book though, when the whole incident with the volcra happened…that changed my mind. I think he’s a great guy! Definitely not swoon-worthy as most people find him, but awesome nonetheless. And a great friend.

As for the rest of the characters- Genya and Baghra would be my favorites. They felt so real. And for the rest, I think they were well-written too.

The Writing:

Ahem, this is the more complicated part of the review. First off, the good thing was that the pacing was just right. Had it been written by some other fantasy author, I would’ve been bored probably. But even the boring parts were written at a fast pace so thank goodness, I was saved 😌. The bad thing though was that the writing was very repetitive. Phrases like “a chill ran down my spine” and “power coursed through me” were used over and over with slight variations. And I don’t know why but it irritated me more than it should have. In the first book especially! It’s not a major thing really but it was a big turn off factor for me while reading the book.

The romances

Two romance was good! Mal and Alina started from being irritating to being amazing 😍! Alina and The Darkling were too good too! That ending 😭!! Genya and David were weird though, I don’t like David much. Also, I’m so glad nothing much happened of that Nikolai-Alina thing, it would have been too weird. At least that was one thing that Alina managed to handle like a pro.

Favourite book in the series:

It’ll have to be the first one- Shadow and Bone, which is ironic because that was the most annoying out of the three and I hated almost every character πŸ˜‚. But it was a lot easier to read than the other two. I have to say that the other two were better, but I enjoyed the first one more.


This was a 4/5 stars series for me. In fact, I would give each book 4/5 stars. It was thoroughly enjoyable despite all its flaws. This is the kind of series I recommend to those who are new to fantasy, and I specifically recommend it to people who do not mind some overused tropes. These books are fun, but not the best, and there are definitely things that could have been improved upon, but they are worth a shot.

That’s all! I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you read this series? What are your thoughts on it? Is it on your TBR pile? Let me know in the comments πŸ˜€.

I know my book reviews ain’t that good but you’ll have to deal with it. My brain cells to write something interesting have been destroyed by copper sulphate crystals and isotonic elements 🀧. #sedlyfe


Welcome to my site where I talk about all things bookish and from time to time, put my writing skills to test.

68 thoughts on “Spoiler-free Review of The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Don’t bash your book reviews; I really enjoyed reading this!

    FIrst of all, let me just say that I am thrilled you think Mal is sweet and that he and Alina are a great couple!!! Because apparently, half of the world’s population would rather Alina had ended up with the Darkling 😳 He’s a super-villain!! (But gosh, yes, he’s also very good-looking, and especially now that I’ve seen Ben Barnes in the role, I might be starting to get it… 😍🀣 But nope, nope, nope! That guy is EVIL. And Mal is such a good friend πŸ₯°)

    Speaking of the Darkling, though, I think he was a super interesting character from the get-go, even though I did always hate him, too. Everyone else ist just kind of bland in comparison, so I can see why Alina didn’t completely blow you away. I actually think the show did a great job in fleshing her and the other characters out a bit more!

    But yeah – this series will always hold a nostalgic place in my heart, even though I also think it has quite a few flaws. But it paves the way for Six of Crows, which is absolutely epic! Leigh Bardugo improved so much as a writer between those two series, it’s incredible 🀩

    (Oh, and also: I am so glad you came around to liking Nikolai 😊)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank god, somebody agrees. I mean not that I don’t think that Alina and the Darkling would’ve been this really swoon-worthy pairing, but the bond between Mal and Alina is really awesome!
      And I freaking know right! Ben Barnes looks so gorgeous 😍. Have you seen the Narnia movies? He was in like two of them too and he was great then too!

      I personally didn’t care about the Darkling in the first two books all that much, I mean he felt like this very obvious dark villain that is present in every other novel, but the final book changed it all for me. I started liking him a lot, hehe. Yeah, the show did add depths to the characters…I mainly paid attention to all the crows scenes in the show though 🀭. I mean, Jesper and Milo!! 🀩

      Yes, I mean I can’t believe this is the same author who wrote six of crows! The writing got so much better and the characters were so varied!

      Hehe, I’m glad too! And thanks for commenting, Naemi! πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have seen the Narnia movies! Though my favorite one is still The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, despite Ben Barnes not being in it 🀣 But I’m not going to deny that I appreciated him appearing in the later ones… 😍 And he looked even better in those black Ravkan keftas 🀩 (By the way, I really think keftas need to become a thing. I want to be able to walk around wearing one without people staring at me like I’m nuts πŸ˜‚)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have watched the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe so many times that I can’t stand it anymore πŸ˜‚. I liked Voyage of the Dawn Treader most (that was the name, right?)
        Yes, he did! Imagine Ben Barnes animated….whoa, that would be so cool 🀩🀣.
        You can wear a kefta on Halloween, we won’t judge… πŸ‘€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we only got to see the darkling’s character properly in the first book. After that I don’t think his personality was really explored . Ah and I really liked Mal in the beginning but ended up disliking him at the end?? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    Great Review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The book sounds really cool – the chosen one theme is a theme I’ve read a couple of times, but sometimes they’re really similar, so how much would you say this book is unique? Great review Nehal! :))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We disagree (on a lot of points here) but I have to say I love the setup of your review! It’s so clean-cut and fun to read! And I think you’re right about it being better for people who are new to fantasy; I definitely saw this demonstrated in the way I, a new reader, liked it a lot more than my sister, a long time fantasy fan. Great review, Nehal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, people who have read lots of fantasy would find this one pretty mediocre, but beginners would enjoy it! It kind of paves the way for them to read more fantasy books in the future.
      And thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aaaah, why would you do this to me??? Why no to Nicolai?? 😭😭😭
    I agree with everything else that you said!! Baghra was AMAZING, and yes, even though the second and third book were way better constructed than the first one, the first one is just… better in some way??
    And don’t say that okay? Your review was amazing, and some of those emojis really had me cracking up, loved reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I like Nikolai!! πŸ˜‚ Just not love him so much that I would die for him, but he’s a great character!
      I know right! The third one I guess is a little nostalgic..
      Oh, thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked it 🀧.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YESSS, I AM HAPPY. Honestly speaking, I wouldn’t die for him either because i love life too much lol, but he’s definitely my most favorite thing about the trilogy (apart from the world building)

        Also, umm, this might sound weird (sorry, but we are risking it anyway) but could I have your email? Just to you know, chat and stuff?? I tried searching your blog, but couldn’t find it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. liking Mal is such an unpopular opinion, haha i like him too, while i think the darkling is better off as a really scary villain. (seriously, when he appears in alina’s vision? that is creepy.) I loved baghra too , and genya as well (my favourite moment of hers was the scene with the king in the last book. wow.) and i kinda liked the alina in the books, but i think the alina in the show was better (have u watched the show? what did you think about it???)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right! I’ve read so many people ranting about Mal on GoodReads, and like yeah, he wasn’t the best, but he wasn’t bad either.
      And yeah, that was so creepy πŸ˜‚. I was so happy when in the final book, Alina was the one who went into his vision instead.
      Oh, I remember that scene!! For some reason I really liked Nikolai’s role in that one.
      I don’t really know, I think both were fine πŸ˜‚? I mean, alina in the third book was good, but Alina in the show still seemed pretty basic I don’t know why..
      And yes. I’ve watched the show. And Jesper and Milo were everything 🀣🀣🀩🀩

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know…I may be wrong…but I guess this is one of the very rare reviews I am actually reading by Nehal (or is it your alien? Why is he/she anonymous???)
    Amazing review! The trilogy is one of my favourite books but I definitely agree that it has got flaws (though you cannot really see it when it is one of your favourite books=). In the books, I did find Mal a little annoying but for me, he was much better in the show.
    I also wasn’t able to really connect with david in the books, because he wasn’t always there and rarely did talk in the books, but I did like him. Genya, just find me a girl like her…she’s rare I tell you. Her little talk with the king was really perfect. I think she really depicted that beauty was a great armor, but it wouldn’t be always there. I found her self-confidence after she was attacked by the darkling’s volcra amazing. Not many women would act like she would.
    I also wasn’t actually able to connect with alina because everything was in her perspective but in Rule of Wolves or King of Scars (she makes a little appearance) I found her much more realistic because we didn’t see her in her perspective but in the others.
    The Darkling was my favourite character though. His manipulative skills were just over the top amazing. Though, i guess it is nice to have a villain who actually loves his mother a little. Baghra…when I’ll grow old, I am going to be this grumpy old lady just like herπŸ˜‚ just kidding…wait I’m not sure…
    Oh…copper sulfate crystals…lovely thing this stuff is…
    Shoutout to your alien as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nehal’s ghost (coz she don’t deal with aliens)- Yes, you’re not wrong, Miss Granger. This is indeed one of those rare times when my mistress posted a book review! I’m kinda amazed at her, to be honest, I hope she did a fine job, not better than me though obviously… πŸ˜‡

      *Nehal has booed the ghost away*

      You are such a pain in the butt πŸ˜’. Anyways, back to business:
      I think I found Mal more annoying in the show for some reason 🀣. I mean he wasn’t bad but I liked his character development in the books better.
      Yes, I agree David didn’t have much of a role, I found him rather meh. I know right! Genya was the one character I liked from the beginning, she’s so brave! I liked her friendship with Alina too!
      Oh, I haven’t read those books yet, maybe I will someday.
      And yes, I know right! His relationship with her mother was so…strange, but it was good to read about.
      Oh really? Will you scold me if I steal a few chocolates from your fridge, Grannie? πŸ˜•πŸ€§
      CuSO4 crystals aren’t lovely πŸ™‚. At least, not a day before the exam, thank god Chem is over 😍.
      My ghost says thanks πŸ˜‡. And you are not supposed to call him alien or he will be very upset…πŸ‘€

      Liked by 1 person

  8. But- but- you did say that an alien…πŸ₯Ί
    Well, you should let your ghost come more often because I really enjoy having her around…Like, she does a great job as well as you too!
    And I am not Miss Granger🀣🀣 I’m Annia. Well my real name if you ask me. When I first started this blog, I was just constantly afraid somebody I know would discover my blog…for some reason, this just scares meπŸ˜‚
    YOU DARE STEAL A SINGLE BITE OF MY MY MY CHOCOLATE I’LL MAKE SURE YOU’LL NEVER SEE DAYLIGHT AGAIN!. No sweetie…but no chocolate for a month…serves you right…parents nowadays need to really teach their children that stealing chocolates is bad…
    Is your ghost called Nehal as well?? I mean, it should be because a ghost can only exist if it was a living being in the first place…
    Actually, my liking for Mal really went up and down in the books, but I ended up liking him in ruin and rising. But in the show, I just liked Mal all the time. It didn’t go up and down haha.
    I just absolutely love love love chemistry but our teacher…um…we cannot even talk in the class…like you know some teacher manage to keep their class silent without doing anything. And we get a lot of notes😣. He barely even smiles in the class. 😢
    To Nehal’s ghost: You’re welcome. And be nice…listen to your mistress here…or she will boo you awayπŸ‘»

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so didn’t ever mention an alien! πŸ˜‚
      Thank you, thank you! I’m glad you like my pathetically useless but not so bad ghost, I’m sure she will be delighted to hear that ☺.
      For some reason I always thought it was a he, but that sounds weird…🀨
      Yeah, I know your name isn’t Hermione πŸ˜‚. And yeah, many people go by a different name for the same reason. So it’s fine. It’s kinda a nice feeling to be anonymous, not gonna lie.
      Oh, o-o- ohkay, daadi πŸ˜•πŸ€§.
      *whispers* she be scaryyyyy
      Where are all the ghost questions coming from, you’re seriously giving me an existential-ghost-crisis πŸ˜‚πŸ˜΅.
      I don’t know the name! It is a secret πŸ™‚.
      And aah, I see.
      Your teacher sounds like Snape 🀣.
      πŸ˜‡ Indeed ghost, be nice to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Why do you call your ghost pathetically useless but not so bad…I assure you your ghost is really fun to have around.πŸ˜„
        existential-ghost crisis?!? Whatever does THAT mean?!?
        Our chem teacher isn’t exactly like snape but they have both got some similarities. My biology teacher is more like snape on the taunting the kids sideπŸ˜‚
        You ghost does give a he-vibe but I thought she was a she because it is YOUR ghost right? She is obviously a carbon copy of you right? Like it is an imprint of your soul or something??
        Yeah ghost, you are lucky to have a mistress like Nehal here…at least she allows you to write a little on her blog😏
        P.S. And yeah…no chocolate for you…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know my ghost is awesome, I just like drama so I keep roasting him πŸ˜†.
        And who knows, ask my ghost~
        I got rid of all my Snape teachers slowly growing up 🀣.
        And what did I tell you about the excess ghost questions?! They’ll give me a panic attack🀧.
        Oh yeah, she’s deffo lucky.
        And bad grannie, hmph!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. COME ONNN! Your panic attacks cannot be that seriousπŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ™‚
        Bad grannie?? How about bad grandkiddie instead?? *huffs* children nowadays have NO sense of who to call bad people nowadays…
        ask your ghost??*breathes* okay…um…*nervous sweating* um…ghost?…I- I would like to ask what does existential ghost crisis mean…um…yeah..just wanted to know because…well never mind…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hey, my panic attacks are more serious than omicron 😀.
        I’ll call Grannie whatever I want to call Grannie, bad Grannie πŸ™‚.
        And oh goodness πŸ˜‚. Existential crisis means having a sort of moment where you start questioning life and your existence, and basically all the stuff every teenager goes through every day πŸ€“…or a typical olivia Rodrigo song πŸ€“.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. and I’ll call grandkiddie whatever I want to call grandkiddie, Bad grandkiddieπŸ™‚
        Okay, understood what does existential ghost crisis meanπŸ˜ƒ
        ”…my panic attacks are more serious than omicron”πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚wherever did you think of this brilliant thing!?! and my questions are more serious than delta…just joking🀣

        Liked by 1 person

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