Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
(Shadow and Bone, #1)
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 2017 by Square Fish
Rating: 4/5 stars
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.
“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips. “Is that it makes us weak.”
I’ve wanted to read this series for the longest time and I don’t even know where to start. I fell in love with the story from page one and thoroughly enjoyed it the entire time.
This book was a really good start to a series. It lays the ground work for what’s to come and I’m really excited to continue on.
The story follows Alina Starkov who is in the military with her childhood best friend Mal. Alina has never been good at anything, or special, she is just kind of a run of the mill orphan. Mal though has been doing pretty well for himself in the military and the two have drifted apart. When a accident in the shadow fold reveals a power that Alina had no idea she had her entire world changes and she is thrown into a new set of circumstances with plenty of court intrigue, power plays, and a bit of romance.
“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely.”
The world building in Shadow and Bone was probably my favorite thing about the novel. The descriptions of the different types of Grisha (those who wield magical power), the shadow fold (where are the bad things live), and just the general atmosphere pulled me in right from the beginning. I also liked that although this is a big, complex, new world there weren’t really big information dumps and I never felt like I didn’t understand what was going on.
The story telling in Shadow and Bone is brilliant. The story unfolds quickly. Before you know it you are in thick of events, from the ship in the Unsea to the royal palace. The pacing, in my opinion, which was almost pitch perfect with only a couple of slow patches in the story, when Alina was learning details about the Grisha world. The principal characters of Alina, Mal & Darkling, all were well created with enough depth & character flaws. The plot twists in this book definitely kept me on my toes and made it so I couldn’t put the book down.
I really enjoyed Shadow and Bone and I’m definitely excited to be starting the next one.Yes,the book followed some of the traditional ya aspects and was predictable at times but this book definitely stands out from the crowd in ya and fantasy genre. 100% would recommend.
CLeigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over three million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. (To hear about new releases, tour dates, and giveaways first, sign up for Leigh’s newsletter here.) Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles.