Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 368 Pages
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Book One: Shadow and Bone
Book Two: Siege and Storm (June 4, 2013)
Book Three: Ruin and Rising (2014)
Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook
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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
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.
I've been reading sooo many uniquely themed books lately, and Shadow and Bone is no exception! I loved loved loved the concept that the author created and the intricate world she weaved! When I first chose to read this book, I decided to just check out the preview to see if I would enjoy it or not. Then I read some reviews and ended up reading a very huge spoiler in one of them, which then made me reluctant to finish the rest of the book. However, in the end I finally decided to finish what I started months ago.
Omg I'm so very happy that I did! Even though I knew what was going to happen, (Soooo upset about reading that spoiler!) Bardugo still managed to capture my interest and never let go! Throughout the book, I experienced so many emotions! Love, anger, fear, shock, and severe cases of fangirling. Managing to flabbergast a reader who already knows the ending is no small feat, and is a sign of a very talented writer.
All right, so onto the characters. First and foremost we have the protagonist, Alina Starkov. I. Absolutely. Adored. Her. She was such a strong and brave soul, but yet was also vulnerable in ways we can all relate too. Since Alina was raised a orphan with only one real friend, all she's ever wanted to do is fit in with her peers. But no matter where she lived, she never felt like she belonged there. Something 99% of us have experienced in our lifetime. This vulnerability/flaw, whatever you want to call it, just made Alina feel all the more real to me and helped me connect to her on a level that I've never felt before. When she was spoken down to, she never backed down. She stood with her head held high and pretended that nothing could hurt her, even though she was a nervous wreck inside. She cared about her friends and would do anything to save them, even if it meant sacrificing everything that made her who she was.
Two love interests in this story.....but it wasn't exactly what you would call a love triangle. You'll find out once you read the book! I'm gonna very lightly touch on this subject, because this is the part where I read the spoiler, and I don't even want to risk giving it away! Mal, I didn't exactly dislike him, but I didn't love him either. He was more of a mehhh character. But the second time he made an appearance, I warmed up to him, and finally started to understand why Alina loved him so much. The lifelong friendship that these two shared was so poignant (Haha, one of my vocab words!) and I was actually tearing up from some of the conversations these two had. The Darkling was this dark and mysterious broody stranger, and I loved him immensely (for the most part). He kind of reminded me of Ash from the Iron King in the beginning. Every time the Darkling came onto the scene and gave one of his rare almost smiles, I was practically swooning.
Leigh Bardugo did a fabulous job on the worldbuilding. This story took place in a made up setting but all of the buildings and vegetation reminded me alot of Russia! The worldbuildng was super descriptive but at the same time didn't take away from my enjoyment of the novel. Each word that Bardugo wrote, just brought me deeper into this mystical world where anything is possible.
The pacing of the story was great! There was not one point while I was reading Shadow and Bone, when I felt like I wanted to close it and come back to it later. I was entranced in the story and couldn't tear my eyes off of the page. Before I started reading, I actually told myself that I was only going to read, at most, five chapters and even gave myself a time frame to read it! Hahahahaha.....that definitely did not happen. From the moment I set my eyes on the first page, the words grabbed me and never let go.
I strongly suggest that if you love uniquely themed novels, awe inspiring world building, and fast paced action, that you pick up Shadow and Bone right now. Borrow it from a library, steal it from a friend or sibling, buy it on the Internet, just find a way to read it! This is a You-Have-Not-Lived-Until-You've-Read-This-Book sort of novel. However, do NOT confuse this book with the well known Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which is also a amazingly written book, but a completely different thing. I don't know why, but I always get confused on which name goes to which book. If you do choose to read Shadow and Bone, (Which You Should!) be sure to set aside enough time to read this book in one sitting because once you start, you won't be able to stop until you know the ending.