Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Published: 2012 by Henry Holt
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Bought

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.

Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future..

First Sentence:
The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.” (Prologue)


I couldn’t even begin to start thinking of ways to explain my love for this novel. But I have thought of the word “perfect,” and I think it works pretty well.

The pacing? Perfect.
The characters? PERFECT.
The creativity of the plot? Perfect.
The writing style? Perfect for this story.
The cover? Perfect.
The ending? Perfect.
The “prologue” and “epilogue”? Perfect.

Also, I was just so emotionally invested in the story that I couldn’t handle reading it for but a few chapters at a time, and I wouldn’t pick it up until I knew I had time to read a chapter or two. This isn’t a bad thing, mind you. It’s a completely fantastic thing. Usually if I only half-care for a book, I can read a few pages and be fine. But for Shadow and Bone, I had to have time, time without distractions in which I could absorb every beautiful word in this beautiful book.

I was completely immersed in the world of Ravka. From the customs to the language, from the geography to the food. Every character, every moment, I was drawn into this creative world, fashioned mostly after Russian customs and languages. Please let the sequels come quickly because I want more than this taste.

Alina’s journey was not unlike that of the average heroine in a fantasy adventure novel, but she succeeded in shining through her normalness. But then again, she isn’t normal at all. I mean, she thinks she’s normal. She’s weak, skinny, and clumsy, but she remains unaware of how amazing she is. She’s smart, quick, and confident. She’s honest, way more honest and snappy than you would think based on her outward appearance. I cheered when she stood up for herself or made a decision contrary to what others were telling her to do. She acted so spunky even when she was feeling ugly or weak. I don’t blame her for anything that happened. I completely stand behind her on all of her decisions, even those that turned into mistakes. She was an inspiring main character and I hope to see more of her story in future books.

I have officially found the next best love-hate character. I both love and hate the Darkling. Sometimes I found him completely hot and irresistible and other times I hated him. But it was still a love-to-hate thing.

Baghra and Genya were amazingly complex side characters. I’m still confused about Genya and where she stands on all the junk that went down at the end. I loved her so much and thinking that she might be a character I soon have to dislike, is not making me happy.

If there is ANYTHING inside of you that craves a magical fantasy full of great characters in a creative world and wonderful writing that makes you lovingly read each and every word, read Shadow and Bone. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to. It’s just so beautiful.

Content Warnings: Kissing.

5 Pigs 
Just so much love for this book.

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