Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Pages: 358
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: June 5, 2012
Source: Library
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka. Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free? The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him. But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him? Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance."
Alina and Mal are orphans that grew up alongside of each other at Duke Keramsov's estate.  They didn't grow up in the lap of luxury though and sometimes they felt all they had was each other.  Once they are old enough to move away, Alina becomes a cartographer and Mal is a tracker for the army.  Their world, Ravka, is a strange and unsettling place and what is especially disturbing is the area of Ravka that they refer to as the "Shadow Fold."  The Shadow Fold is a dark place filled with horrific bird-like predators that can take down a man with the blink of an eye.  Mal and Alina find out that they must cross the Shadow Fold for the king and en route tragedy strikes. In the middle of chaos, Alina realizes that she has a special power.  Once the Grisha, or magical beings, find out what powers Alina possesses, they take her to the palace to learn how to harness them.  Things are entirely different here at the palace for Alina.  For starters, she is favored by the Darkling (the powerful leader), she is without Mal, and despite the fact that she has to go to many lessons, it's a really nice place to live.  The Darkling has high hopes for Alina. He wants her to help him destroy the Shadow Fold for good, but there are some major bumps in the road coming for Alina.  Leigh Bardugo's fantasy debut, Shadow and Bone, is a novel that encompasses all the things that I love about the fantasy genre: magic, some kick-butt action, special powers, scary creatures, an enthralling setting, and of course, some romance.  

Alina really transforms in Shadow and Bone.  She kind of drove me nuts for the first half of the story, because she was so passive about everything.  After she started to come into her own, I liked her more. See, I wanted her to expresses herself a bit more to Mal, but she had such low self-esteem.  Alina has feelings for Mal, but she feels like he would never like someone like her.  Mal is a bit of a charmer and can often be found wooing other girls, but at the end of the day, Alina is his best friend.  Once she is separated from Mal, she thinks about him even more and misses him.  I couldn't help but wonder if these two would have their day in the sun.

The Darkling, on the other hand, gives Alina a lot of attention.  She doesn't really want this attention at first, because she doesn't want others to think of her differently or think that he is favoring her.  Things get complicated when Alina starts to feel something for Darkling. Needless to say, their relationship was a strange one and for the first half of Shadow and Bone, I couldn't decide whether or not I trusted the Darkling.

Bardugo does an amazing job with the world-building in Shadow and Bone. I haven't read such an awesome fantasy with an incredible setting, like Ravka, in many, many years.  I loved being lost in the world of Shadow and Bone; it even included a very Tolkien-esque map of Ravka, which excited the nerd in me.  Apparently, many critics have said the setting is similar to Imperial Russia and that this novel is based on many Russian and Slavic myths--so, so unique.

One thing is certain: Shadow and Bone is such an original tale, although it reminded me of little bit of Game of Thrones, Graceling, and Lord of the Rings. If you know me, this is a huge compliment.  So, in sum, if you are a fan of high fantasy and are looking to read the next Graceling, check out Shadow and Bone.  Then you can get your hands on a copy of book two in the Grisha series, Siege and Storm, which comes out this June.

10 comments:

  1. YEAH CHRISTINA!!!! Isn't this book awesome! I definitely wanted Alina to speak up and tell Mal how she felt, but I can understand why she didn't. He was all she had left, and what if she said those things and things changed between them for the worse instead of better? And wasn't the Darkling intriguing? I loved that I never really knew what to think of him or if I should trust him. Can't wait to read your thoughts on Siege & Storm!

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    1. Good point about Alina and Mal. I agree about the Darkling--very mysterious in the best way possible. :) Looking forward to reading the sequel in June. Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

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  2. Awesome review! I just ordered myself a signed copy of this one and I can't wait to get it!

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    1. Thanks! I can't wait to hear your thoughts. I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. I can't believe I still haven't read this book! it sounds like it encompasses everything that I love. Definitely need to get to it before the sequel comes out.

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    1. It's a really good read, especially if you love the fantasy genre. Thanks for visiting and I hope you get to read it soon!

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  4. You make this book sound amazing. I am kind of curious about it now and I might check it out from the library sometime. I love fantasy but have found few YA high fantasy books that really work for me.

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    1. It's a really awesome read, especially if you like the fantasy genre and all that goes along with it. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for visiting, Christina.

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    2. I'm ridiculously excited to read this one! I've read only good things about it. Missed out on a review copy, so I'm going to be stalking my library! :) Great review!

      Zaira Lynn (TRUSTprice - Software Download)

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  5. Oh man, I still haven't read Shadow and Bone. I picked up a copy a month or so ago, but it's just collecting dust on my bookshelf. I really should read it because I've heard nothing but wonderful things about it.

    Thanks for the review.

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I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

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