Author: Leigh Bardugo
My rating: ❤❤❤❤❤
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Publication date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Synopsis: 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.
Book Links:My thoughts: It’s been a while since I got this caught up in a book. This close to Christmas break, I’ve had a lot to do in school, so I haven’t had the time or patience to sit down and relax to read. Maybe it’s because of that that I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a while, or maybe it’s simply because I haven’t found a book this good in a while, but either way, I was so happy and a little surprised when I noticed I really didn’t want to put this away. I wanted to stay up all night to finish it, and I almost did.
I’ve had this on my to-read a long time, but I didn’t read it, but then my best friend read it, and she totally loved it, and she couldn’t stop talking about it, and since we have a very similar taste in books, I decided to read it. And I totally loved it.
So let’s start with the characters, one of the most important things in a book, at least for me. I loved Alina. Sure, when she was basically ready to give up, I was close to getting annoyed with her, but I still understood her actions. I could really relate to her, to her want – and need – to fit in, to belong somewhere. That need explained a lot of her actions. I also loved that even though everything that could go wrong went wrong, she didn’t give up. She continued to fight for what she believed in, even though she wasn’t even entirely sure what she was fighting for. There was a few moments that I truly thought she would break, and give up, and a weaker person would, but she didn’t.
So how about the Darkling and Mal? I have to say, I’m team Darkling. I’m not really sure about Mal, he still has a lot of convincing to do before I can accept him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad character, but … well, I just don’t like him. Simple as that. But the Darkling, on the other hand … I’m not really sure what to say about him. Let’s just say that I have very confused feelings about him and Alina. I’m not sure what I feel. Let’s leave it at that.
Let’s talk about the plot. I liked the plot, it was very original and interesting, and although it wasn’t very fast-paced at times, it still kept my interest alive and even though there were some quiet moments, I had to know what would happen. And Alina’s training to become a Grisha kept it interesting and made it seem more fast-paced than it was.
One of the things I loved the most about this book was the world Bardugo has built. I love a book with good world-building, especially in a Fantasy novel, and this was one of the better ones I’ve read. The world she created, and the country Alina lived in, Ravka, it felt so real and believable, and I found myself so caught up in her world that I needed a moment to get back to the real world again. This is what I call good world-building. Many times, in books like this, the world-building is faulty, which makes the book unreal and unbelievable, but that’s not the case here.
I can’t wait to read the sequel, I need to know what happens with Alina. Interesting and relatable, Shadow and Bone will take you on an emotional roller coaster and will keep you on your toes through the whole book.