I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
on June 5, 2012
Also by this author: Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom
Series: The Grisha #1
Also in this series: Siege and Storm
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.
Where do I possibly start? Should I tell you how much I love high fantasy and books like Shadow and Bone are the reason for that first? Maybe I should start off with how completely captivating this book is from the very first page? Should I tell you how I swooned and gasped out loud on several occasions? Since I just told you all those things I think I’ll just end this paragraph with: OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK!
Everything I said up there really sums up my feelings, but I’ll try to be a little more articulate. Are you a fan of high fantasy? It’s really my most favorite genre. If you’ve read it often you may notice that sometimes fantasy books start off a little slow. Shadow and Bone starts off with a BANG! and never lets up through the entire book. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I was so captivated so early on in a story.
The world building was amazingly done. It’s so lush. I just wanted to wrap myself up in it and live there. It’s rich in Russian culture and that’s something that you don’t see a lot of in YA fantasy. I loved the royal court. Who doesn’t love court intrigue? I also loved the hopelessness of the Shadow Fold and everything in between. I especially loved the Grisha. What a completely unique concept. I think in the wrong hands the Grisha’s could have come off as confusing but Leigh Bardugo explained everything effortlessly.
The story is very much about power struggles. Alina is just a lowly orphan who just happens to have an amazing life…no world altering power. I loved Alina so much. I loved that she was weak and a little beaten down. I loved that she overcame so, so much. She developed into this extraordinarily strong and capable character right before my eyes. She still wasn’t without faults and that made me love her and the book even more.
The Darkling. The frickin’ Darkling. Sigh…I don’t even know what to say about him other than: *swoon*. I was pretty much in love with him from the moment he graced the page. I haven’t read about such a heart stopping male character in quite awhile. He was the epitome of dark and mysterious. Wow, did I love him…
One of the main reasons I loved Shadow and Bone is something that I can’t really tell you about. It would spoil a lot of things for you but I must say that I can’t remember the last time I was so utterly tricked by a book. There is a twist that was completely unexpected. It changed everything! I’m still a little in shock about it. While I was kind of saddened by it, it really did make me love the book even more!
I’m going to wrap this thing up now. But guys, this book is tied for my favorite of ’12 so far. The book it’s tied with is by Melina Marchetta. That should tell you everything you need to know. This is a incredible debut. I’m beyond excited for book 2 and anything that Leigh Bardugo writes in the future. I highly recommend Shadow and Bone.
Check out my review for book 2: Siege and Storm