It disappoints me that it took a Netflix series to draw my attention to this series, but nonetheless I’m so glad it did. This story puts a different spin on the Young Adult, Fantasy genres, combining the setting of Tsarist Russia, Russian folklore, and realism all in one fantastic world.
We are introduced to a war torn country divided in two as it attempts to protect its borders from those who would see Ravka fall. I love the combination of the Grisha and military for a 2 part army, it creates a great basis for the underlying themes of competing cultures within a singular country as well as the abuse and downward attitude those in power tend to have towards the less fortunate. We also get a good view of the other side of this coin in the Grisha narrowing down their distain for people not of their kind to the persecution of minorities experienced in the past – a theme that still remains relevant today, 8 years after this book was published.
The first person story telling was constructed quite nicely through Alina’s eyes brining through the relatability of the reluctant hero who is forced into a life they didn’t want. Bardugo brings a raw emotion through her protagonist that is felt by the reader allowing us to experience what Alina is experiencing without falling into clichés seen across most YA Fantasy novels.
The plot is so strong that even when we are plodding through the slower parts of the novel – Alina’s training and various balls – that we are still highly engrossed in the story. Though it may move from the fast paced action we experience in the beginning and end of the novel we see a lot of great character development and are introduced to the intricacies of Ravkan policy and work order. Exploring an inequitable monarchy – a very real theme of Russian history.
Six of Crows Duology
King of Scars Duology
Want More Young Adult Fantasy?
If you’re a fan of young adult literature, specifically in the fantasy genre, then you’ll love The Lost Artefacts series >