Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) – Macmillan
Published: June 5th, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)The summary of Shadow and Bone form Goodreads:
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.
I’ve had a copy of Shadow and Bone for a while now. At first, I didn’t read it because I wanted to wait for the entire series to be published. Then, I waited because I kept hearing wonderful reviews and I worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I finally read it because I was craving a fantasy novel that would make me swoon at both the romance and the world. Shadow and Bone did not disappoint.
What I Liked:
Everything about this book worked well together. From the world to the characters to the plot, it all seemed to flow effortlessly from one page to the next.
The world. Ravka is split in two by the Fold, an area of unimaginable darkness roamed by creatures who want nothing more than the humans who try to cross the it. Split in two and surrounded by enemies that would seek to destroy them, Ravka is a nation in dire need of help. No one can eliminate the Fold, few can cross it, and many don’t dare to mess with it.
That is the world we are suddenly dropped into. Bardugo wastes no time bringing you right into the action. Not only does she set up the world pretty quick, but she doesn’t string the characters along much.
It’s clear that there’s something more to these characters from the very beginning. There’s a “Before” section, right before the main action of the story starts, where we get a little background on Alina and Malyen. Their relationship is clearly defined, and yet it’s not. Alina and Mal have been friends since childhood, after they were both orphaned. Fast forward to when the story starts, and they are still friends, yet Alina knows she feels more than just friendship. She knows she wants something more, but doesn’t have the confidence to voice that.
And that leads me to my next favorite thing about the book: the characters. Alina starts the novel somewhat lacking in confidence. She’s scrawny and isn’t really taken as seriously as she’d like by those around her. By the time the novel ends, she’s become more confident, more sure of herself. That’s not to say she’s done a complete 180, but she’s growing. She’s learning more about herself and finding a power in herself that she didn’t know she had. She’s finding a way to stand on her own, without needing Mal by her side.
As for the relationship between Alina and Mal…wow. It’s like a deliciously slow burn. It’s not the only focus. It’s not an all-consuming love. But it is sweet and powerful.
What I Didn’t Like:
That the book ended? I don’t know…I really can’t come up with anything. And really, I had the next book already downloaded, so there was only about a 30 second break between finishing this one and starting the next, so that problem wasn’t even a real problem.
I’d Recommend To:
Anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel. This book grabbed me right away and didn’t let go. If that sounds like a book you’d like to read, one where you lose all sense of time and reality, give this book a read.