Thursday, September 4, 2014
Siege and Storm; Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo // My Grandma is Genya
Because I read these one after the other, I thought I'd do a combined post.
Can I repeat what gets me so excited about these books? I know I said it (and said it and said it) in my review of Shadow and Bone but:
SLAVIC FANTASY, PEOPLE!
*dances a little dance of glee*
I need more of this. Someone needs to write more slavic fantasy (and not just me). I just looked up "Slavic Fantasy" on Goodreads and there are literally seventeen books shelved under that genre. SEVENTEEN! And seven of them aren't even in English! That means TEN books for us to partake of. Pitiful.
(By the way, the Grisha Trilogy wasn't on there. Shame.)
Apparently, The Ultimate Slavic Fantasy Book is called The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. Perhaps I should read it.
Anyway, my point is that we need to get more people writing Slavic fantasy. Yes or yes?
So, the fact that Bardugo, with no Slavic background herself, writes such a fantastic trilogy - highly commendable.
And not only does she provide the true feel of Slavic folklore, but also - the story is darn good too!
Let's talk characters again.
The Darkling has become SUCH a well rounded villain. You know what's a sign of a good villain? It's when he thinks that he isn't evil, he thinks that he is good, he's doing the right thing.
You, as the reader, of course, know that he's doing the wrong thing. But in his twisted mind, he can't see that. It makes him so REAL.
Do you know what the biggest debate in Psychology is? (Once you take Psy 101, you're never the same.) It's Nature vs. Nurture. Basically, the question is: what influences us more to become who we are? Is it inborn in our genes? (That's Nature.) Or is it our surroundings as we grow up? (That's Nurture.)
My opinion (because obviously I have a huge voice in the Psychological Department of the World) is that it's a little of both. There's a part of our personality that we're born with, but the other part is molded by the people around us, and our situation in life.
Who the Darkling became is so obviously a result of the Nurture side of things.
His history is so knotted, so tangled, so shadowed, it's not at all surprising that he came out with his morals a bit on the wrong side.
What is interesting about this book is that it's sort of a love-quadrangle, which I haven't encountered before (except for perhaps Shakespeare's Twelfth Night - now that was some love-quadrangle!)
We have the dark, bad boy. We have the sincere, full-hearted boy (Mal - who still wins, in my book).
And we have - well, something in between.
Nicolai is a flippant, jokey sort of fellow, who has never known a day of his life when things didn't go his way. But there's a deeper side to him that gets revealed as the story progresses - one that has some of Mal's beautiful kindness, but one that lack's Mal's humility. Mal has a certain sort of pride, but it's not the obvious kind. Nicolai's pride is obvious and pervading. It's not a bad thing, but it's not a good thing either - pride can be a virtue and a vice at the same time.
As I said, though, Mal wins in my book. He has a purity and goodness that will always send a character into my Fictional Crushes list. I will consistently fall for the good boys. Without fail. (Ahem, Peeta?)
DO YOU REALIZE WHAT MAL DID FOR ALINA? How can you not love him? When you get a guy who is that devoted to you, you don't let him go.
Talking about that - wow what a twist! I was so ready for it to go according to plan (three books, three amplifiers, the fairy-tale formula, and all comes out dandy).
But then Bardugo threw in such an epic twist in Ruin and Rising, and the whole fairy-tale formula fell on its head.
This ending was quite an epic ending, as endings go.
Oh and if you were wondering about the title of my post, my grandmother both is and isn't Genya. She obviously isn't the character Genya from the books (another spectacular character, by the way. Ugh, just marvelous!). But my grandma's name is, in fact, Genya. Her first name is Eugenia, which in Ukrainian is Evgenia, which shortens to the nickname Genya. It's sort of the Slavic equivalent of Jean.
Cool, huh? :-)
Have you read the Grisha Trilogy? What did you think of that ending? And which (if any) of the three fellows lands on your Fictional Crushes list? If you're into guys, that is.
Spoilers welcome in the comments, just warn ahead of time.