Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Series: The Grisha, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

Absolutely, and with no doubt, gorgeous.

I haven't read a fantasy in a while, and while paranormal is a nice "substitute" for the meantime, it can never really integrate the elements of high fantasy into the genre. Now, this book? Flawless. This book soared higher than my expectations. I could not put it down– I became so enthralled with the world of Ravka and the Grisha. It was riveting, captivating, and I immediately wanted more when it ended. 
Clearly, 400 pages of this book was not enough.

I loved all the characters. They were built-up so well, they were almost flesh and bone leaping off of the page. I was attached to all of them emotionally (with love and hatred!) and was gripped by each of their stories.

Alina is our main character, and she's smart, funny and sharp: she totally gets her way. However, what I liked the most about her was the fact that at the beginning of this book and during the beginnings of the Grisha training, she was really weak. Completely unlike what YA heroines are made out to be. It was so easy to relate to her because of this, and I had total respect for her during the entire novel. She makes decisions, both good and bad, and because of how connected I felt with her, I could see why she did what she did.
Mal was a frustrating yet very interesting character. Obviously, I was attracted to him as Alina was, but he annoyed me so much during the beginning–just as our MC did!– because he was just so cocky, so forward and confident that he was the absolute best at what he did. Later on though, he's so sweet and protective, and trust me, you'll fall head over heels for him!
The Darkling was truly a character like none other. I think, and agreeing with Veronica Roth's blurb on the cover of this book, he's truly "unlike anything I've ever read". He's got that charm, yet he radiates power and strikes fear into people, making them follow him. His manner towards Alina though was interesting– he actually began to treat her as an equal... and then of course, something very interesting happens. Nope, no revealing what it is, but trust me, I could see why (as I said before) she did what she did, because even if I was presented with that "choice" I would have taken it.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, the world of Ravka is so enticing. The whole world building descriptions of this fantasy is superbly done. I was so immersed with the beautiful and dark descriptions of this world and the Shadow Fold, and the Grisha especially. It all gives me shivers and tingles just thinking about it.

The only part I was left confused with was the ending. I had no idea what happened, or if what I thought had happened, I have no idea how the story would continue. Nonetheless, I'm still very eager to find out!

What more can I say? Shadow and Bone is one of the best reads I've read this year. I'm absolutely freaking out and dying to get my hands on the next one, because clearly my dose of Mal is not enough. Leigh Bardugo is an amazing author, and I'll be definitely be first in line to get whatever she writes.

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  1. Woooooow. Great review!! This one has been sitting near the top of our TBR list for a while, but your commentary really convinced us that we MUST get our hands on it. Thanks!

    Btw, you know they've optioned this for film, right?

  2. Awesome review, Rabiah! I can tell you really love this book! :P I actually just borrowed it from the library so I can't wait to dig in. :)

  3. I agree, I too loved this book. I think the author created a great world that is so easy to get lost in!

    Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  4. Great review-you're getting me all psyched for the second book even though it's going to be a while.

  5. I've heard so many people sing the praises of this story. I really need to pick it up. Great review. :)


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