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.Review:
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.
Ever since this book was first announced, it's been causing quite the stir. First, with just the fact of how amazing it sounded. Second of all, with the spectacular cover it received. Third, with all the amazing praise it has been collecting, including some from big names such as Veronica Roth. So to say I had high expectations for Shadow and Bone, the first in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, would be a serious understatement. However, as luck would have it, Shadow and Bone was everything I expected it to be along with a few extra punches I didn't see coming.
Shadow and Bone had a lot of good things going for it, and one of those was the incredible world building it including. From the first page, I was fascinated by the world of the Ravka. I wanted to know about the Shadow Fold. Why was it so deadly? What caused its existence? Plus I just needed to know about the Grishas...what were they exactly? What could they do? They were so many questions swirling around in my head, and while Shadow and Bone did answer quite a few of them, more questions continued to spring up time and time again.
From the world building came the plot, and the plot was what kept me glued to this book (besdies the characters of course-but I'll get to that later). It was fascinating as well as filled with plenty of twists and turns. I always enjoyed seeing Alina on her journey to become a Grisha as well as the chaos it caused. In addition, I really liked the love triangle that sprung up in this one. I'm the first to admit I'm not a big fan of love triangles, but in this one it really worked. I thought Leigh did a great job of giving both guys a fair advantage...even though in the end the one was way above the other one.
This then leads me to the characters. Alina was a strong and dauntless main character. I loved seeing her powers manifest as well as seeing her grow as a character because of it all. One of the things I enjoyed most, though, was seeing her relationship with Mal, her best friend and confident since she was young. It was complicated, and for most of the book, it seemed to fall apart, by that little kick in the end gave me plenty of hope. :) I also loved the addition of the various main characters including the other portion of the love triangle...he really surprised me to see the least, and I'm curious to see how everything turns out in the sequel.
Lastly, Leigh's writing was fantastic. The characters, the setting, the plot...everything was nearly perfect...I seriously couldn't ask for a better or richer high fantasy read.
In all, Shadow and Bone is a spectacular read, perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Veronica Roth.
Shadow and Bone (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!
Source: Publisher via Netgalley