After reading her Six of Crows miniseries, I realized Bardugo had written a precursor trilogy introducing the Grisha world. Naturally, I wanted to know more about world of Ravka and its beginnings. If you are new to Six of Crows or Leigh Bardugo, both this trilogy and the Crows duology are standalone novels that can be read with or without the other. Now, let us dive into the murky waters of the Unsea.
In an alternate-type of history, magical people lived among the common folk. They were called Grisha. Much like events in our own past, such as the Salem Witch Trials or religiously-driven peoples running riots, the Grisha were unliked and even killed by some. However, as they began prominently displaying their powers in Ravka, their home country, people started to treat the Grisha as royalty. Ruled by the Darkling, a mysterious leader flanked by highly regarded Grisha officials, everything in Ravka was alive. Except for the Shadow Fold, an equally mysterious stretch of forlorn land, its light diminished to nothing, and its only inhabitants being vulture-like creatures. This is where Alina Starkov’s story begins, as an orphan girl tested for Grisha powers. She and Mal, her best friend (also an orphan) trek together through the Shadow Fold and find a force a lot larger than the both of them.
Leigh Bardugo has a talent for writing and creating a darker story, all the while still building and breaking crucial moments as another novel may. If you are new to both Bardugo and these series, I would definitely recommend checking them out, and if possible, starting with the prequel trilogy.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.