Title: Shadown and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”
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. Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. – Excerpt from Goodreads.
This was very close to a five star book for me. I adored it and I’m sure it will find itself in my TBR list in the years to come again.
This review will contain major spoilers.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this book, since I had heard some mixed reviews. I ended up buying the trilogy before reading this book but that is very typical of me. Luckily, it ended up being great. The other thing I had kept hearing was that this book was a really slow burn. I feel like I wasn’t reading the same book! I was pulled right into this story from almost the very start. The main protagonist is quite easy to relate to. She isn’t stunningly beautiful, all the boys aren’t after her, basically she isn’t a “special little snowflake” type, which I really appreciate. She isn’t even amazing at her craft, which is map making. She feels a bit like an underdog really so when you do find out her true talent you can really get behind her honing it.
The world building in this story is great, I didn’t feel confused but it didn’t feel overly simple at the same time. Leigh Bardugo just took the time to set up the world so that you didn’t feel overwhelmed. She also managed to develop many of the characters so you actually cared about them. Hell, there were some characters that I know I’m not supposed to like but they weren’t one-dimensional so they still kept me interested and didn’t just feel blind hate about them.
Ok, here it is. We need to talk about The Darkling! Yes, I am one of the many women who would trade my soul to be with The Darkling!!! I wanted to care that the man was beyond awful. I mean he has no issue with mass genocide basically -taking out entire cities. Anyone who dares to defy his new world order. Sadly, I kind of want to be the dark summoner beside him. Who am I kidding?!?! I’m not sad, nor do I feel the slightest bit guilty. I know there are lots of people who don’t get why people love this character so much. It’s not reality – these characters are a blast. They tend to have the most interesting plots, best lines and undeniable charisma. The Darkling had all of these things in spades.
Now that I’ve fangirled so hard that I’m almost embarrassed, let’s continue *awkward silence* I think most people who like a good fantasy with a lot of romance, intricate world building and a little dash of blood will find this a good ride.
I really liked Alaina but I can’t say the same for her best friend and long-time romantic love interest – Mal. He was so bland and it frustrated that he barely noticed she was alive until she had great power. Figures.
I will be getting to the rest of the series shortly. This is my first Leigh Bardugo novel but it will be FAR from my last. Would recommend this book for The Darkling alone.