Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Series: The Grisha #1
Release Date: June 5th 2012
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?
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
I read so many positive reviews of this book on fellow book blogs, that I just had to start reading it. And it did not disappoint me!
Shadow and Bone is about Alina, an orphan who now serves as mapmaker in the army, together with her childhood friend Mal. She is about to cross the Shadow Fold, a sea of shadows crawling with monsters called Volcra. When she and Mal are attacked by the Volcra and she is able to fend them off, she is captured by fellow soldiers. It turns out she is Grisha, a human with magic, and she has the power to summon the sun. Alina is taken to the King's castle by the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha. Slowly she learns to control her power and she is attracted to the Darkling. When he turns out to be evil and wants to control her power she flees. She stumbles across Mal and together they try to escape the Darkling's grip and his plan to enlarge the Shadow Fold.
The first thing I loved about this book was the world the writer created. At first the story seems to take place in old Russia, but quickly it turns out to be a magical country called Ravka with Grisha, Darklings and Shadow Folds. The description of the world is very detailed and throughout the book you come to know much about its history and the Grisha. I liked the Russian influences on the book, very original in YA books.
The characters were great too! Protagonist Alina was very likeable and strong. At first she was denying her powers, not trying to learn anything about Grisha and she came over as a shy, weak girl, but she quickly changed into a powerful character.
Mal was a lovely character. You knew from the beginning Mal and Alina belonged together, but they just could not see it yet. I did not really like him at the start of the book, he just came over as a bit of an arrogant womanizer, but after he meets Alina again when she flees he completely won me over. He turned out to be a sweet boy, willing to sacrifice his life for Alina. I hope their relationship will develop even more in the sequel.
The Darkling at first seemed like a nice character; mysterious and dark, but still kind.
But when Alina learns the truth about him, flees and is captured again, he turned into a ruthless, evil man. He wants to control Alina and is not afraid to use violence. I don't understand how people can 'ship' Alina and The Darkling. He is just pure evil, not even a little bit of good in his heart. Why would you wish Alina that? I know everyone likes bad boys, but he is just evil. I hope the writer won't make a love triangle out of it, that would be a shame.
But don't get me wrong: I still though the Darkling was a good character, only not loveable.
The story was quick-paced, action-packed and captivating. When I started reading, I could not stop until I got to the end!
I would definitely recommend this book! It has a great story, awesome characters and an intruiging magical world.
Stars: 4 out of 5
Extra: A Map of Ravka from http://www.leighbardugo.com