Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Book One of the Grisha Trilogy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC won from a giveaway
Source: ARC won from a giveaway
(Old review: original review posted HERE on December 16, 2012)
I received an Advanced Reader Copy for this book, and forgot to post my review on the book (oops!). I picked this book up, and finished it in one sitting - it was that good! And for me, it's hard to read a book in one sitting, because usually the small problem of being a senior in high school impedes my speed of reading.
Summary (from Amazon):
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.
What I Liked:
I am a sucker for fantasy and science fiction - and this book had both. This book starts off a little slow, but in an interesting way. It starts off slow for a reason; the world-building is key in this book, and Ms. Bardugo does an excellent job with the world-building. I could picture the setting, the war, the suffering, and the mysterious Fold very well, which is why I enjoyed the slow start.
Readers are introduced to many characters important characters in the beginning of the story, and more characters are brought forth as the story continues. This was the case, but it was not difficult to keep track of all of the characters. Ms. Bardugo's writing style was smooth and engrossing, and I had no trouble understanding the book.
I really like Alina, because she is plain, and she thinks not as highly of herself as many characters in young adult books (which could be a good thing, or a bad thing; I think it is a good thing). I like her decision-making process, and her way of thinking.
I did not really like Mal, or the Darkling, and I suppose that will be some sort of love triangle, but we will see. I love books about wars, so that element of the book is important for me to mention. Ms. Bardugo has no trouble executing this part well. I truly liked the fantasy part of the book, as well as the science fiction. Alina's powers as a Sun Summoner are interesting, and a little confusing.
The Darkling's hunger for power is clear and unmistakable, especially when it comes to Alina's power. I am very excited to see how Alina uses her power, after reading the end of this book.
What I Did Not Like:
I did not completely understand Alina's power as a Sun Summoner. Perhaps this will be fleshed out in the other two books to come, but from this book, it was not clear to me.
I also wanted to know more about the Darkling. I wanted to get inside of his head and see what he was thinking. But I believe Ms. Bardugo wanted the Darkling to seem mysterious, and I respect that. I do not like the perceived love triangle.
I do not really like Mal, and I do not really like the Darkling with Alina (I like him as a character in the book, not as a character with her), so I am not sure which way to lean. I suppose I lean more towards Mal, because that relationship seems more concrete and lasting, unlike Alina's relationship with the Darkling, which is based off of lies and him using her for her power. But again, we will see.
Would I Recommend It:
Yes! To all fantasy and/or science fiction lovers out there, this is a great book to read! And it is a series, so there is more of Ms. Bardugo's beautiful writing and world-building to come.
4 stars. This one is definitely worth reading!