SHADOW AND BONE
By: Leigh Bardugo
Published By: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Series: The Grisha Trilogy (#1)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book: Amazon
Goodreads Summary: 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.
Every once in a while I read a book and have to wait for days to write the review because the book has left me speechless. Shadow and Bone is one of those books. So much happens in it that I am still not completely sure what to say, but I'm going to give it a try.
Alina Starkov is a cartographer for the army, traveling with her regiment to cross the Shadow Fold, a barrier separating Ravka. When she can, she spends time with Mal, a tracker for the army and a lifelong friend from the orphanage where she grew up. When the time comes for the army to cross the Fold, they are attacked by volcra, winged monsters who feast on humans. One attacks Mal, triggering a long-dormant power in Alina...a power which does not escape the notice of anyone. Soon Alina is brought before The Darkling, the head of all the magical beings in Ravka, and told that she is the country's hope for salvation. Alina finds herself in a new life in the Little Palace, being trained to harness her power and growing closer to the mysterious Darkling. But in a warring country filled with magic, secrets are everywhere...
I haven't read high fantasy in a long time, and I am so glad that I chose Shadow and Bone to get back into the genre. I loved everything about this world. From the well thought-out concepts and magic to the Russian influences, I felt like I was truly in another country with Alina and Mal. Beyond that, this book took me through so many emotions and provided so many unexpected twists. I think Leigh Bardugo must be a master manipulator with the journey that she took us on in this book. My heart broke for Alina when she believed that Mal had deserted her, but I was so proud of her when she finally realized her own strength. And the Darkling...oh, the Darkling. What a character he is. He is very well developed, and I am curious to see how he plays into the next books.
There is so, so much more that I want to say about this book, but I don't want to give anything away. This is one book that you have to read for yourself and allow yourself to get lost in the magic of the world. There is so much happening that you will find yourself debating whether you should race ahead to see what happens next or savor the story as it unfolds. Finally, I will say that I appreciated that this book was wrapped up in a way, but I am still can't wait to see what comes next for Alina.
In Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo has crafted a fantastic debut novel. I am eager for more of this world, more of these characters, more of this trilogy!