Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Posted by Caitie F on May 24, 2013
Summary from pub:
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.
I really love high fantasy books, but I am always nervous about starting a new one. If the world is constructed well, there are holes everywhere. If the characters aren’t focused with full personalities, dreams, and motivations, it is easy to get sick of them quickly. If the villain isn’t complicated, the entire story just falls apart.
None of that happened in this book. My only complaint is that there were a couple chapters that slowed down, but it was purposeful to build suspense and suspicions, so it is a very minor complaint.
The characters are great from the main heroine to her teachers and guards around her. The only flat characters are the royalty, and they are flat because they are useless. It is a case where I wish it had not been in first person so the reader could see more of some of the other characters; their motivations and doubts along with Alina’s. Seeing things from Mal and The Darkling’s side also would have been awesome.
And about Mal and The Darkling, I even liked the love triangle, and you know how much I usually despise love triangles. That is probably because it is less of a triangle than it appears. I also got why she was interested in both – one because he was awesome and the other because she was drawn to his power and smoothness (but his age made it kinda icky). The romances in the book felt so genuine and wonderful and part of me kept expecting betrayal from all sides. It was hard to see what was really going on which just made it so much better.
The end of this book will blow your mind. There was one aspect I was disappointed in because it had been done earlier in the book and was the one hole I saw, to put it in a non spoilery way- realizations having that much power irked me.
Overall, this book was great and if you love some high/epic fantasy in young adult books, go get it so you can read the next book in a couple weeks!