Review: Shadow and Bone

09:16 Cilla P 0 Comments

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Indigo
Source: Periplus Bookstore
"I've been waiting for you a long time, Alina," he said. "You and I are going to change the world."

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the world of the kingdom's magical elite - the Grisha. Could she be the key to setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must 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?

Review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

'And there's nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.'

Lately I crave novels that are not set in America, futuristic or dystopia or current. Most of those books are great, but I want to read about other places and cultures too. So when I started reading Shadow and Bone and realised that it is steeped in a culture I know nothing about, I was excited. There was just enough information and foreign words sprinkled in the narrative about Alina's world to keep me engaged in every description. There were times, however, when I did have to keep flipping back to the first page to keep all of the Grisha ranks in order in my head. I still don't think I can tell you who's the lowest ranked Grisha, but I can picture their kaftas and the palace and Ravka in general. This book would - or should - make one gorgeous movie.

A well-built world is nothing without the characters, and I loved the characters too. I was wary at first - the cover makes it sounds like any other YA: ordinary girl discovers extraordinary power, gets chosen and has to deal with a strange world, and she's caught in a love triangle. To be honest, I still don't know how I feel about Alina by herself. I like that she's vulnerable and feels her emotions, but when she's alone, she's not as interesting to me. When she is with other characters though, whether it's Genya, Mal, or The Darkling, I can feel for and with her. Her and Mal's moments were my favourites; the heartache and that need for one another came across so well, I wanted to hug them.

And The Darkling! I knew he was a bad idea for a girl (he's called The Darkling, after all), and it's slightly creepy to think that he is 120 years old, but I couldn't help being attracted to him. I'm usually dismissive of handsome, mysterious men in novels too, so the fact that I fell for his charm spoke volumes of how well he is written.

Not much surprised me about the story arch, and the parts that did I wouldn't discuss here because of spoilers, but I loved the end of this book. There was a believable sense of danger and death, and I was left wanting more. I'm definitely going to read the rest of the series.


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