Kathryn Theis | Check out these books before Netflix adaptations debut




If you follow movie — and television show — news very closely, you may have heard that Netflix recently announced a television adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s young-adult novels: the Grisha trilogy (beginning with “Shadow and Bone,” the title of the upcoming show) and the Six of Crows duology.

Beginning with “Shadow and Bone,” Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy garnered immediate attention from publishers and readers alike: Her agent query to three-book deal progression lasting only a remarkable 37 days.

Over the course of two years, the three books were published and quickly became a fixture in the young-adult-book world.

The story is set in a relatively Russian-inspired country bisected by a stretch of perpetually dark, barren land known as the Fold and defended by two armies — one normal, one of people with special abilities known as Grisha. The “Masters of the Small Science,” they can control the natural world: anything from wind and fire to metal and human cells.

Alina Starkov, a teenage girl, is a map maker for the First Army when, while crossing the Fold, it becomes apparent that she bears an unusual Grisha ability to capture and control light.

Immediately taken to the Little Palace, she begins training as a soldier in the Second Army and elevated to a status almost equal to their commander, known only as the Darkling for his ability to use darkness. This puts an immediate target on Alina’s back, and she struggles to find allies and replicate the show of power she had demonstrated on the Fold. Of course, even this new “normal” cannot last — secrets threaten to rise, and the intentions of many are cast into doubt as time goes by.

Betrayal, adoration, light, darkness and a good old sprinkling of teenage romance — this trilogy is as enchanting as it is exciting. Though definitely a debut with a trope-ier plotline (the author has even commented on this, calling the trilogy her “chosen-one story”), it stands out from others with its vividly imagined world.

Add in the Six of Crows duology, “The Language of Thorns” (a collection of fairy tales from various countries in the Grisha world) and her most recent, “King of Scars” (a spin-off novel featuring a favorite main character from the Grisha trilogy, which was released Jan. 29), and you have a gorgeous collection of narratives set in a three-dimensional fantasy world.

Kathryn Thies wears many hats: reader, writer, editor and shelver at the Urbana Free Library, among others. Find her at bookwiseblog.com or on Twitter (@katie_bookwise) and Instagram (@katie_bookwise).


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