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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 368
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

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.
*Galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

Fantasy styled books always take me ages to get into and Shadow and Bone was no exception. The high anticipation directed towards this book really blew up over the months leading up to its release and after getting accepted to read the galley of this book, I decided to give it a try. Besides the extremely confusing names and terms that Leigh Bardugo refers to, the story wasn't half bad, and I started to really like it around 20% in. 

Alina failed to captivate my interest for a little while during reading. She is the Sun Summoner, the one to break the impenetrable darkness within the Shadow Fold and force down the deadly creatures, the Volcra, and become the savior of Ravka. She is Grisha, magical and beautiful people in the land of Ravka, except Alina is anything but beautiful, she's rather plain. Her attitude of "That's not me," "I can't do that," "I'm not strong enough," wore me out until she could finally learn to stand up and fend herself. 

One character that I really enjoyed the experience reading was the Darkling. The mysteriousness and the dark air around him made the story click a lot better and faster than it did when Alina was just whining or gawking about the beauty of others and smiting her own self and her looks in comparison. 

Towards the latter of the book, I failed to lose connection with the story, it's characters, and the anticipation and the twist that grew, though I had some hunches that popped up every now and again. The writing was splendid and captivating. I'm definitely excited to see how the next book fairs for Alina and the world of Grisha. 

Final Summation: A dark and mystifying novel that turned out better than I expected. Though it takes a bit to absorb what is going on with the world and the characters and the fantasy terms, this novel is a wonderful read that makes time fly.

First Line: The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke's house like giggling phantoms, darking in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last if the summer peaches.
Four targets slayed


Grad Student @ Young Adult Fiction and Whiskey Sours said...

I am happy to read a good fantasy, but I also find it tough if the lingo/names are too much. Thanks for an honest review- not all books are amazing out of gate, but it is good to know this one is worth patience.

Krista said...

I thought this book was fantastic! I agree that some of the names were kind of confusing. I'm tempted to get the audiobook just to figure out how they are pronounced :) For an epic fantasy I was impressed though. Great review!

roro said...

i always loved fantasy and this1 sounds freaking fantastical
need need need
gr8 review

Gianna said...

Fantasy is like my favorite favorite favorite genre of all time. I'm so pumped up to read this book! I really hope it doesn't turn out to be suckish for me. :( I'm glad you ended up enjoying it, even though you had a little issue along the way. :3

Thanks for sharing your thoughts~

Kristall said...

I just brought it. I can't wait to read it. Your review is great. Thanks for it.

Alyssa Susanna said...

I actually liked this book! I didn't think I would, because, as usual, there are two guys and one girl. But, I guess I'm happy to say I like neither guy? So I really don't care who ends up with her. I like Alina, for the most part. I like the overall world, abilities, creatures, royalty, etc. It's a really good start to the series! But I'm still a little confused as to what Alina is... hopefully it'll be more fleshed out in Book 2. But really, a great debut! Thanks for the review!!!!

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