Yes, it’s 2019, and I’m still stanning Grishaverse like it’s 2012. It’s been a while since I have picked up a book and read it, and it’s been even longer since I picked up multiple books and binge-read like sleep is beneath me and caffeine is my favorite friend. (‘Cause sometimes that’s how it is. Sometimes stories are just that good.) But only twice have I re-read a book, and never have I
almost re-read an entire trilogy. Until now.
The first of Leigh’s highly anticipated post-war, Niko-centric Grishaverse duology dropped early this year, and it was all the hype and excite I needed to start my renewed bookfest. As soon as I had my copy, a friend and I ate through the entire 527 pages within four days. It contains a bunch of old favorites and some new, many laughs, a few twists, tears, and a little Surprise! Bomb at the end. (But is it really a surprise if I knew that was coming? Come on, we knew she wasn’t done with him yet.) Naturally, of course, no soul can escape King of Scars without the handful of Shadow & Bone references, and ah—my heart panged a little bit each time Alina’s name came up. How I missed her.
So, I re-read Alina’s story from start to… okay, not to finish, but I almost made it there. Prior to that, I had to catch up on Leigh’s newest Grishaverse books: first up was Six of Crows followed by a balancing act between Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars, and wow to Leigh’s writing strengths. Everything feels richer, more fleshed out, than what I remember experiencing with Shadow and Bone. Which is not to say S&B is barebones, shallow, or messy, but they are Leigh’s first set of books ever published. To compare the preferences and style between now and then is interesting!
Perhaps the biggest difference is easy to spot, and that’s alternating POV. I used to hate seeing this in literature, because it seemed as though I always grew attached to one character in particular and skimmed through all other chapters just to return to The One™. And since making my small comeback into Reading Again, I’ve lost count of the number of YA books I’ve come across that employ this. So, is it a trend Leigh joined in on, or did she already have the idea of employing several main characters? Don’t know; don’t care, because I love it anyway.
I love reading from the perspective of everyone, looking at a single scenario or detail from each unique character’s way of seeing. I love picking up their inner thoughts, their feelings, and getting to know who might otherwise have been a side character I’d have to guess at. I love finding out how they view each other and themselves, and—definitely—observing romances from more than one angle. There is much more to glean when you read from multiple angles, although that statement is perhaps dependent on the writer’s savvy (and Leigh’s got it). But jumping from three back-to-back alternating POV books to just the one first person viewpoint of Alina, and Alina alone? It was more Alina than I could handle.
Ouch, the 2012 version of myself would be furious and offended if she heard that. She loved Alina. Adored her. And I still do, but it’s *seven years later and I see things differently now. Chalk it up to the ounce of maturity I’ve gained and a slight change in preferences. For one, Alina wanting to command the second army? With no experience? Ha ha, she’s funny. And Mal? Why did I ever hate him? Why was I ever mad about Ruin & Rising’s conclusion? I was dumb.
(*omfg has it been that long???!)
Of course, I’m still the annoying-ass Grisha stan I’ve always been. You wanna talk Grisha? I will tire you out. And what about the upcoming Netflix adaptation? I can’t stop screaming my excitement. The hope of more Grisha books? Always, and you can bet on me re- and re-re- and re-re-re-reading them time and again. I can’t stop. Playlists? YOU BET. I’m all for it.
I don’t know why, but I love Grishaverse. I can’t pinpoint any single reason for my unwavering attachment to this cast of characters and their fantasy world, but I’m here for it until the day I die.