Shadow and Bone
(The Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
First Published: May 17th, 2012 by Henry Holt BYR
Pages: 372 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Adventure, Fantasy
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.
Even before reading Shadow and Bone, I was already sure that I would like this book. Fantasy is one genre that rarely disappoints me and this one does sound totally epic. The fact that two of my favorite authors (Rick Riordan and Veronica Roth) blurbed this book made me super excited and nervous at the same time! Despite my high expectations and many raving reviews I have seen on various blogs, Shadow and Bone was definitely not a disappointment!
Leigh Bardugo has created a world so beautiful and mesmerizing that I can’t help to be fascinated the whole time. I think the Russian culture goes really well with the atmosphere of this book – dark and chilling. Well, the terms/places may be hard to pronounce (I seriously have no idea how to say those words! Kribirsk, Balakirev, etc… I just pronounce them like how an Indonesian would lol) but it was easy to keep up with all of them and it didn’t take much time until I was fully engulfed in the story.
The plot was extremely well done, not a single time I felt bored and the writing successfully painted the scenes in my head. Alina isn’t the most kick-ass heroine, but she is definitely a very reliable narrator. I thought she would be this typical YA girl who is plain, unloved, and ends up being the savior but unexpectedly, I was able to connect with her fear and insecurities, and one thing that impressed me was her great and perfectly-paced character development – it isn’t a sudden change, rather a step-by-step transformation. I also liked how dark and mysterious and unpredictable the Darkling is, I couldn’t guess his true intentions! I think he’s my favorite character from the book. The twists… the revelations… I adore this book! I can’t believe I started it soooo late! Shadow and Bone was truly a promising start of a series. I am very curious how things will turn out in the second book!
Plus, when I opened this book for the first time, there was a beautiful map: