GRISHA Trilogy: A Complete Review

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The GRISHA trilogy is set in a poor country by the name of Ravka, a land geographically divided by a mystic land called the Shadow Fold inhabited by Shadow-creatures and plagued with darkness. The Ravkan kingdom is protected against its northern Fjerdan enemies and southern Shu Han enemies by two different armies that fight side by side. One army is under the protection of the king, whilst the other is lead by The Darkling. The Second Army is comprised of Grisha, which are people with special powers. Our story begins in the first army, where the orphans Alina and Mal end up as they grow up. When they are forced to cross the Shadow Fold and the Shadow-creatures close in on them, Alina’s Grisha-abilities flare up to save them. Her abilities turn out to be different than anyone else’s making her alike only one other person, The Darkling. This friendship introduces her to many new people and drives other old friends away but Alina is put at odds on more than one point.

One of the best aspects of the story are the characters, a writing trait that carries into Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Alina and Mal are a protagonist duo I won’t forget for a long time. I love how Bardugo de-dramatises love and relationship in the face of the end of the fucking world! It’s quite rare to find a book where female characters are written with a bit of sense and I know it’s appreciated by a lot of fellow readers. Although love is made to be all-powerful it’s not messy or sloppy or problematic. An amazing realisation Alina makes is when a male character she is infatuated with kisses another girl and she gets upset with the girl. Instead of having a grudge and following in the footsteps of other books it surprised me by explaining how dumb women hating women is. ALINA, YOU’RE DOING AMAZING SWEETIE!

Siege and Storm, the second book in the Grisha trilogy, was probably my favourite out of the three especially because of Sturmhond, one of the best characters in the series. The story started out in Novyi Zem that I have been looking forward to read more about ever since I was introduced to Jasper in Six of Crows! What made the book such a solid 5/5 read for me was the dynamic between Alina and the male characters surrounding her. It was heavily reminiscent of that scene in The Crown where Prince Charles refuses to Queen Elizabeth by asking “Are you my wife or my queen?” and her reply being “I am both, and a strong man would be able to kneel to both.” FUCK IT UP, QUEEN! Despite teh fact that everyone acknowledges Alina’s power and progress by the second book, there is still some patriarchal confusion which she crushes easily. The second installation is a strong as fuck book as well as the most feminist and anti-patriarchal part of the trilogy and I loved it.

The third book was where it started going so and so for me… The plot twists and turns were great, amazing, unmistakable perfect, but the rest and the in between kind of dragged. Some of the things I thought should have been resolved in the first book, there were too many things kind of crammed into the book that didn’t belong to the story. It felt a bit forced, especially when it was placed in the middle of the book, almost as if to fill out the pages. But it did leave the last third of the book for other issues to be resolved that were many… The wrap up was well done, many things fell into the right places but, I still feel like the end was too simple. I wanted way more and way more deaths but I bet other readers were satisfied with the end that was happy and positive. Well, I’m just a pessimistic mess and only death can cure my soul…

It is hard not to compare it to Six of Crows especially since it’s within the same universe. My mistake was to read SoC before this Grisha-trilogy which kind of made the series… underwhelming. Six of Crows is my favourite YA fantasy of all time, OF ALL TIME! Therefore, I found myself feeling that the trilogy kind of dragged and that the language was dull. The ending did nothing for me and if it weren’t for characters like Alina, Mal and my favourite protagonist Sturmhond then I probably wouldn’t even have bothered to finish the series. The book was heavily plot- and character-driven, the plot was okay and easily to predict. The plot made it feel more middlegrade than YA and as much as I love middlegrade I was in the mood for something more… adult.

Ultimately, I think the series was really good. Probably a 5/5, but due to expectations from previous reading and lack of current interest in genre it demoted it to a 4/5.

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Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy, Publication date: June 5th 2012, Rating: starstarstarstar/5

shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024.jpgShadow and Bone, written by the immensely talented Leigh Bardugo, is the first installation in the Grisha trilogy. It introduces us to orphan girl Alina and her childhood friend Mal in a made up country heavily influenced by Russia, Ravka. In the middle ofthe country there is a dark rip where creatures live. When Alina and Mal make the dangerous trip, Alina discovers a power she never knew she had. Along with her discovery of Grisha-power, a group of people with different abilities called the Small Science. She is quickly rushed to the castle to be introduced to the king of Ravka and to hone her skills. But leaving Mal behind begins to tear her apart, will the mysterious Darkling be able to fix her wound? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

Leigh Bardugo is without doubt currently my favourite YA Fantasy writer. Her language is simple yet she manages to toy with your emotions and change your perspective numerous times within a sentence. I don’t know how to explain it but her writing completely strips the reader of their reins and she forces us into her narrative. It’s kind of freeing not having to make up your own mind about different plot twists and characters. Having just finished A Game of Thrones where the entire series is dependent on how you choose to read into it, this was a refreshing relaxing book to delve into.

The plot was solid and followed a simple and straight red thread. Leigh Bardugo is an amazing FANTASY writer but not an equally amazing ROMANCE writer. The “relationship” scenes felt forced and were wholly unexpected. There was no natural flow between what was going on, what the main character was seeing, and what suddenly was sprung on the reader.

Having read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom first, easily her best writing, easily THE best piece of YA Fantasy out there, the characters fell kind of flat in comparison. I really do sympathise with the main characters and their friends but I was more drawn to the plot rather than the characters. The characters weren’t boring or uninteresting, I actually really like Alina and Mal and the Darkling and everyone everyone everyone! The plot was more interesting and engaging than the characters. For example, in The Raven Cycle it’s the complete opposite, where the characters are the driving force of the book whilst the plot is mildly interesting.

However, this was an amazing start to the trilogy and I have already picked up the second installation in the series, Siege and Storm!

The Farewell Pilgrimage

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The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had left Mecca as a fugitive and returned eight years later as a conqueror. Instead of valour and exultation he spoke of his gratitude to God for their success. The Islamic government under the rule of the Prophet (PBUH) could not coexist with the pagan government in Mecca. After seeing the masses that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had drawn with him to Mecca for his pilgrimage they slowly started to change their minds.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spent two weeks in Mecca to educate his newly converted subjects and began to organise a government like the one he had formed in Medina. He sent out emissaries to surrounding pagan tribes to leave their old ways and to be united under the One True God. Many pagan tribes voluntarily converted to Islam and accepted the doctrines set out by the Prophet (PBUH). The last journey with the word of Islam during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) was to Yemen, where the army of the Elephant first originated. The majority of Arab tribes now recognised Islam and Muslims as the paramount force of the Arabian peninsula.

An important account was that Islam was not to be reserved to one racial, tribal, linguistic, or geographical region. The Nation of Islam (Umma) was an acknowledgement of One God and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as his messenger.

 

 

On his way back to Medina, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) camped in a small town called Ghadir Khum where he ordered a pulpit to be made for him. Once the podium had been assembled he gave a sermon that was to become an important part of Islamic history. The sermon has been analysed and reported from two major perspectives that ultimately lead to the split of Islam into Shia and Sunni.

Shia Account

Sunni Account

 

Some excerpts of the sermon are:

I have left among you the Book of God, and if you hold fast to it you would never go astray. And you would be asked about me (on the day of resurrection), (now tell me) what would you say? They (the audience) said: ‘We bear witness that you have conveyed (the message,) discharged (the ministry of Prophethood) and given wise (sincere) counsel.’ He (the narrator) said: He then raised his forefinger towards the sky and pointed it at the people (and said): ‘O God, bear witness, O God, bear witness.’ [Muslim]

He delivered another sermon at Mina, where he said, “Do not return to disbelief, killing one another, after I am gone.” [Bukhari]

While some report that Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) ailments began after he visited the graves of Al-Baqi’. He is said to have suffered an immense headache that ultimately resulted in a fever that caused his death. Others also believe a Jewess poisoned a sheep that was offered to the Prophet (PBUH) after the Battle of Khaybar and ultimately let to his demise. The information surrounding the Prophet’s (PBUH) death is minimal and not many reliable accounts exist. Even within Islamic denomination there is disagreement on whether the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was natural or an assassination. Before his death, it is important to note, that he said the following about the Ansar(previously Jewish and pagan tribe in Yathrib/Medina):

Do not ever for a moment forget what the Ansar have done for you. They gave you shelter and sanctuary. They shared their homes and their bread with you. Though they were not rich, they put your needs ahead of their own needs. They are my ‘legacy’ to you. Other people will grow in number but they will only diminish. Whatever were the obligations of the Ansar, they have faithfully fulfilled them, and now it is your turn to fulfill your obligations toward them.


Sources:

Prophet Muhammad – A Brief Biography by Al-Balagh Foundation

The Holy Prophet by Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi

A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims by Sayyid Ali Ashgar Razwy

AskTheSheikh

The Death Of Prophet Muhammad by Daryl Worthington

Quick Update!

I haven’t slept in two days and I’m fasting (both because I’m muslim and partially because I wanna stop feeling shit and stuff my face with crap). And the sole reason for all of this was the exam I had yesterday. Like… I walked out bawling because I knew I had failed.

Today, we had a lab and the teacher kept asking me questions and I was so depressed and wouldn’t answer… Like, she’d ask me for the name of the group that Diazepam belongs to and I was like….. I don’t fucking know. And I almost cried because I felt like she was insulting me and targeting me while KNOWING that I had failed (because the papers were in her hands).

BITCHES I SCORED 80% WHAT THE FUCK I ACTUALLY CANNOT BELIEVE IT!!!!

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You guys don’t understand… I skipped 4 questions! I SKIPPED FOUR OUT OF TWENTY FIVE QUESTIONS!!!!!

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

My first encounter with Neil Gaiman was three years ago in the corner of my favourite library. He was battered and called “American Gods”, almost read to shreds. I don’t know if it was the name or the cover, but I was instantly drawn to the book. Few weeks go by, I’m half-way through the book, and I get accepted to medical school. All my books get shoved into boxes and the rest have to be returned to the library.

My second encounter with Neil Gaiman was at an expensive book store in the city with my sister. You see, when I was born my mother worked two jobs and studied for her second degree at night. My sisters are used to get books delivered, if they even feel like reading, or making someone get it for them. When my sister had to get a copy of Coraline for her summer reading we headed into the city and got it. Having read the bizarre content of American Gods I was surprised to see that this children’s book was penned by the same person.

My third encounter with Neil Gaiman is right now. To force myself to actually finish one of his books I’m going to blog my way through his new collection of norse folktales.

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Listicle Tag: Top 5 Favourite Female Characters

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I was tagged by Notsomoderngirl in a brand new tag she created! It is called the Listicle Tag and the rules of the tag are:

  1. Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  2. Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that I can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
  3. Nominate as many people as you want!
  4. Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

My prompts is Top 5 Favourite Female Characters.

Here I go!


Hermione Granger

in Harry Potter by JK Rowling

bdc3c1f9b2d2f1b64a50d373f3529049.jpgHow is Hermione Granger not every girl’s favourite female character? Especially if you grew up with Harry Potter! Honestly, if it wasn’t for Hermione I wouldn’t be where I am today. Her character pushed me to be my better self just like she pushed Ron and Harry. I’m getting incredibly emotional thank you very much.


Arwen

in Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien

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Do you fucking mean the light of my life fire of my loins? I know she’s like a very minor character in the book and I might have fallen in love with her more from the movies but she is literally so fierce and strong. And I’m just so fascinated by Elves from the Tolkien’s legendarium.


Cersei Lannister

in A Song of Ice And Fire by George RR Martin

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LISTEN TO ME! WAIT! She is fucked up and she does very questionable things and she is crazy about power. But she is incredibly fascinating as a character. She is calculating and quick and smart smart smart. Her only issues is that she made herself the kind of chess player that wins regardless of what other pawns on the board are lost. It’s sad to see her constantly stripped, in various ways,


Nehemia Ytger

in Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

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QUEEN! DESERVES MORE! She is so strong and loving, after Chaol Westfall (my husband, my son, my father) she is my favourite character in that universe. If you want to read about a kickass character that knows how to play the political game and bend society to her will, read the first two books of SJM. Caelena is… no comment.


Piper Halliwell

in Charmed

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Not book related (or, well, I’ve actually read the Charmed books, so) but Piper Halliwell from Charmed, the older sister, is one of my favourite female characters of all time. She was so strong and smart and her heart was so big. Fuck, I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about how much her character meant to me. She always put people before herself and sometimes I feel I do that as well. I always give my all to my sisters and they rarely reciprocate. So, I identify with her a lot!


Those are my Top 5 Favourite Female Characters! For the people I will nominate please use the listicle prompt “Top 5 Diverse Reads”!

My nominations: thoughtsinlife / bookprincessreviews / mia215 / readbooksanddrinkcoffee / bookshelvesandpaperbacks / thetalesoftworeaders

Dear followers,

I fucked up. I really and completely fucked up. It has kept me away from many things; studying, reading, and living life. I didn’t really fuck up. It wasn’t my fault what happened to me but it is easy to blame yourself in these situations. I won’t go into it because it is incredibly personal but I just want to thank everyone that has been visiting my blog while I haven’t been here.

Thank you. And I hope you accept my second chance at this.