The fantasy world of The Grisha is based on Russian culture, which I kind of loved. It was different to the usual Western European influences, and the world building and plot premise was quite unique and engaging. What I liked less were the Chosen One and love triangle tropes I already mentioned, but the book was good enough otherwise that these things didn't bother me so much.
I quite liked Alina as a main character but I have to say this is one of those books where the villains/anti-heroes are much more compelling than the heroes. The Darkling was the highlight of The Gathering Dark, and I loved how you couldn't tell whether he was really good or really bad. The chemistry between him and Alina was hot. The same cannot be said for poor Mal. I feel like he is probably endgame but he's really a bit of a drip. He's not only eclipsed by The Darkling but also Sturmhond in the second book, Siege and Storm. It was kind of annoying that another apparent love interest was being introduced, but he was kinda worth it. Sturmhond quickly became my favourite character in the series - I love his charm, wit and yes, his chemistry with Alina. Basically everyone has better chemistry with her than Mal. I feel like Mal is more of a brother figure but she doesn't realise it yet.
The second book was probably my favourite out of the two. I really enjoyed the action scenes and the surprising twists.
I really enjoyed these two books and am excited about the next one in the series. They're well written and entertaining enough to overcome the standard formula of YA trilogies that can get so tedious.
Not exactly how the characters are described but once they pop into my head they won't go away:
|Taissa Farmiga as Alina|
|Evan Peters as Mal|