Saturday, August 30, 2014

Guest blog: The Grisha Trilogy

Trilogies, or any multi-volume story-telling, can be tricky. No matter how good the first book, readers can lose “reading momentum” in the wait between volumes and/or dislike the developments in the middle books, and never read through to the conclusion. Or, the alternative can happen: Readers will love the material so much that their expectations will dwarf anything the writer can accomplish, leaving them disappointed (at best) with the resolution. And then there are the exceptions--stories that grab you from the very beginning, build with each volume, and end with a satisfying conclusion.
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo is the latter for me. The trilogy began with Shadow and Bone, which was followed up by Siege and Storm. The final book in the trilogy, Ruin and Rising, is almost a textbook example of how an author should end a trilogy.

Alina Starkov, the long-awaited “Sun-Summoner,” has survived her latest encounter with the Darkling and his nichevo'ya, the Darkling’s “shadow warriors," but just barely. As she recovers from the battle, hiding in the tunnels beneath Ravka with a small group of friends and allies, the Apparat has continued to promote her as "Sankta Alina," causing the numbers of her followers to swell. Alina, however, is impatient with inaction. She has become obsessed with the Firebird, the third amplifier for her power, and believes it to be the only avenue to pursue to defeat the Darkling, destroy the Fold, and reunite Ravka. Alina knows that finding the Firebird and securing the amplifier will be difficul and dangerous, but is scarcely prepared for what securing--and using--the third amplifier will cost her...

Ruin and Rising wraps up the issues raised in the earlier works, while providing new challenges, revelations, and character development. Every time you believe you have figured out how the story will progress and conclude, Bardugo deftly adds or reveals something that changes everything you thought you knew. And the last 100 pages of the book are simply too good to put down. Ruin and Rising is a roller-coaster ride of a novel, in the company of all the friends and enemies you'd met earlier in the journey and come to love, hate, or love to hate!

Reviewed by Daryl M., reference librarian

Editor's note: I was happily surprised by the conclusion to this trilogy. I liked the first book, but didn't enjoy the second nearly as much, mostly because Alina was all over the place with her feelings for three different men! But the third one wraps everything up beautifully, and is in every respect a satisfying conclusion. This makes me so happy after the slew of bad third books I have experienced! I agree with Daryl. And bravo, Leigh.

For those of you who are enjoying or have yet to read the trilogy, you will like Leigh Bardugo's website, with extra details about the world of the Grisha.

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