Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Book 1 of The Grisha Trilogy
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy
My rating: 4.5 stars
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’ve already posted a review on Goodreads, but I wanted to post my first book review here, and sharing my thoughts on Shadow and Bone here would be perfect!)
First, let me reiterate and express my regret of not reading this sooner! I’ve had a copy of this book for two years (almost three if I’m not mistaken), and I haven’t had the time to read it and finish it. When I did though, I was blown away!
Getting into this story was so easy (since I’m already a sucker for fantasy novels haha!) The world building is good; Ravka, and the mystery and magic that surrounds it got me hooked. But as ravishing as Ravka sounds, it was also flawed as it has discord among its people and it is surrounded by enemies. In this book though, I still craved for more details about Ravka. I would have loved to indulge all about its history and culture, but as this is only the first book, I understand this little downside.
The characters were also really good! I loved reading through Alina’s perspective. Her journey through self-discoveries about her new power and strange people was gripping! The Darkling is also an interesting character. I can see his charm and why so many bookworms and fans love him. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as swayed as they are (I didn’t buy the bad-guy-that’s-actually-a-good-guy-when-you-get-to-know-him trope haha! He was just too suspicious for me to think he’s actually genuine). Don’t get me wrong though, I love the significance of his character and the big part he plays in the story. I’m just not a big of a fan as others.
The plot was good as well! It was easy to follow, but there a couple of twists and turns that have managed to take my breath away for a couple of moments. I love how it really keeps me at the edge of my feet as I wait for the next thing to happen.
“I stop struggling. A call rings through me. Something within me rises up to answer.
I can’t breathe. It’s like I’m kicking up from the bottom of a lake, about to break the surface, my lungs aching for air.
The woman in red watches me closely, her eyes narrowed.
I hear Mal’s voice through the library door. Alina, Alina.
I know then. I know that we are different from one another. Terribly, irrevocably different.
I make my choice. I grab hold of the thing inside me and push it back down.”
And my favorite thing about this book? The writing style. Leigh Bardugo weaves an intricate and dark and very intriguing story-telling and I am hooked! From the way she describes Ravka, to showing the mystery that surrounds the characters, to every plot twist present in the course of the book. It was so, so good, I was definitely impressed!
All in all, I really liked this book. I can definitely say that this book is what made me fall in love with the Grishaverse!
To those who haven’t read this yet, I encourage you to do so! You won’t regret it!
And to those who have already read it, what are your thoughts on this book? Tell me, let’s talk!