Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Reading Level: 12 and up
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release date: June 5, 2012
Series: Grisha #1
Source: Raincoat Books
Reviewed by: Tynga
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.
Alina and Mal met at a very young age in an orphanage. Being the two youngest, they were mistreated by the eldest and they instantly bonded over their less than desirable situation. They both enrolled in the army and things started changing when Mal became handsome- thus popular- and she remained a scrawny, awkward girl. None of them could’ve predicated that she would develop a talent so rare that everyone would want a piece of her though.
Shadow & Bone was simply amazing. So much that I rushed through it in just two evenings (quite fast for me!), and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, staying up late at night. The world Bardugo created is simply stunning, and completely engrossing. I’d lie if I said I was sucked in from the very beginning because her Lore and fictive languages take some getting used to, but it wasn’t long before I was hooked. Rich with magic and original abilities, I loved the basis of her story.
The marvellous world isn’t all though, the characters are a force to be reckoned with. Alina was a strong female lead, with completely believable flaws. She’s in love with Mal, yet he never noticed. When she is swept away by the Darkling and he shows interest in her, she is understandably swooned. And I have to confess, he is such a sweet talker, I fell for him too. I also loved Mal though because despite the fact the he doesn’t see Alina in a romantic way, he is there for her and threats her right. Even though Alina is attracted to two boys, I wouldn't describe the romance as a love-triangle, I can’t really say more without spoiling anything so I won’t elaborate.
I was captivated by Alina’s journey as the Sun Summoner despite the fact that the novel isn’t exactly action filled. We follow our young hero as she learns about Grisha society and learns to master her talents. Bardugo kept a prefect balance between world building and action, keeping her readers riveted to the pages. The last third of the book kept me breathless, on the edge of my seat, and I’m so glad that I already have book two at home. I’ve actually already started reading it, I couldn't hold back.
I am convinced fans of Kristen Cashore, Maria V Snyder & Morgan Rhodes will fall in love with Leigh Bardugo the way I did and I strongly suggest you get your hands on a copy of Shadow & Bone as soon as possible. It’s rich love and engaging characters will keep you reading until you can’t keep your eyes open, I am convinced!