Review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

1 07 2013

Okay, so I know I came REALLY late to this party, but OMG SHADOW AND BONE!

“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 fulfill 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?”

(Description from Goodreads)

Shadow and Bone is Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel that made it to the New York Times bestselling list. (It also has a sequel called Siege and Storm that recently came out.)

It tells the tale of Alina, an orphaned girl in the army as a map maker. When she ventures into the dangerous and malicious Shadow Fold where terrifying monsters known as the Vulcra live, she expects she will die. But it is during this life-chaning venture that she discovers her true gift; she is a Grisha (a sort of wizard). Not only that, but she is a Sun Summoner. With this power she is targeted by The Darkling and trained to be the only hope of destroying the Shadow Fold for good. (Or so it seems).

What can I say about Alina? She starts out tough and sassy, which I love, but there is a realistic quality to her character. She acts tough, but she gets frightened like everyone else. She longs for acceptance and once she obtains it, does everything she can to please the one man who holds her as special. She’s a very human character with flaws and positive traits. I really enjoyed her as a heroine. She was compassionate at times and, for the most part, didn’t get TOO much of a swelled head.

The Darkling. Oh, how I adored this character! He’s dark, mysterious, powerful, conniving, villainous, and an all around sexy bad boy (well, bad MAN since he’s like hundreds of years old)! Everything about his character was enticing! I yearned for the scenes between him and Alina. And that scene after the festival….Anyways, he’s the main villain and also a sort of love interest for Alina. He’s the all powerful leader of the Grisha and an amplifier. He can strengthen the powers of any of the Grisha and control these swirling inky shadow things. He’s definitely my favorite character. I haven’t loved a villain this much since Warner from Tahereh Mafi’s SHATTER ME series. I mean, LOOK AT THIS:

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How is that NOT sexy? (BTW: The Darkling just moved ahead in The YA Crush Tournament)

Now for the other love interest, Mal. Mal grew up with Alina in a Duke’s home. They were brought up together and eventually fell into the army together as well. He is a talented tracker and sort of a playboy in the beginning. He’s absent for a good portion of the book after Alina is taken to begin her training as the Sun Summoner, but he comes back towards the end. He’s fierce, protective, and scarred from his time in war. He’d do anything for Alina, even if it meant dying to protect her. I really enjoyed his character and wanted him to survive. I had conflicting feelings about him being with Alina (for obvious shipping reasons), but I really did love him as a character.

As for the minor characters, I really enjoyed them. I’m still not realy sure who is good and who is not good (I refuse to believe they or The Darkling are evil), but I think I like not knowing. It leaves for more questions and possible plot lines in later books.

Plot wise, I thought the book was fantastic. It started up a little slow and it took me a while to understand how the world worked, but I thought it was gripping once the main plot was set into motion. The urgency at the end kept me flipping page after page (as well as any romance scenes between Alina and The Darkling). Overall, I really enjoyed the plot. It kept me reading.

With its riveting, page turning story and memorable (and super swoony) characters, I think Shadow and Bone is a MUST READ. I give it 4 1/2 stars.

4 and a half stars
shadow and bone

Support the author and buy the book wherever books are sold (or borrow it from your library).

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