“And there’s nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.”
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Link to Goodreads
Young Adult Fantasy
Read on: 30 May 2016
My rating: ★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long while now, and I just picked it up when I saw Leigh Bardugo’s announcement on instagram about Crooked Kingdoms! That announcement was so awesome, I decided I’d start the Grisha trilogy before I read the Six of Crows duology!
Shadow and Bone started of with this scrawny orphan girl named Alina Starkov who has been living normally as a mapmaker with her tracker of a bestfriend Malyen Oretsev. One day they, along with soliders, other mapmakers and trackers, were tasked to go to the Fold and attempt to cross it. Notoriously known as the home of the volcras—flying terrors who destroy whatever enters the Fold. Little did they know that when Mal gets attacked, Alina releases a hidden power, a power that even she wasn’t aware of, beneath her that could possibly save the world.
Like Veronica Roth’s blurb, I too, have never read anything like this. It felt fresh to have read Shadow and Bone with it’s different concepts and the different world. It is high fantasy! And I love me some high fantasy.
The development of the main character, Alina Starkov, was just excellent. From being an insecure little girl who endlessly compares her appearances with other Grisha and had zero control over her powers, to a kick-ass summoner she is. One of my main issues about this book was how much Alina whined throughout almost more than half of the book, which made the pacing seem a bit slow for my liking. Meaning, I wasn’t really in the mood to keep on reading while she whined and whined. On the other hand, as the book progressed to the second half, I begun flying through it since I have then developed a liking towards our main character.
Mal Oretsev. How do I explain how much I love his character? I enjoyed his charismatic traits. Charming, joker, and ridiculously talented. Sometimes I feel like he has a certain power, too. I loved him the first time I’ve read him in this book. I still do.
The Darkling on the other hand was tyrannical. At least that’s the way I saw/portrayed it. He’s known as the most powerful among all of the Grisha. I always feel myself confused with his actions and had formed theories inside my head which I hope would be answered in the following books in this series. Yes, he’s seen as an attractive young looking male, but there’s something more beneath that skin of his. I can’t seem to find myself loving him, but I do enjoy his role in this story. The Darkling’s mysterious and unreadable so I’m looking forward to know more about him. After all, there’s a story beneath the evil, right?
What I like most about this book that it was a dark, full of magic, and easy to get into. The world building was fabulously made with the details Leigh Bardugo made. There was also a part where Leigh Bardugo assisted the reader in remembering one of the characters that was mentioned in the first few chapters when that character re-appeared later on. That itself was an impressive touch! The fantasy elements were fun and creative, while her writing style was wonderfully easy to cope with which made me appreciate the book even more.
It feels such a shame that I only read started this series now! I can’t wait to read the next instalment. This book was really okay, plus I heard that it does get better. Although the ending (Ruin and Rising) is completely 50-50 with the readers, I’m still looking forward to how this series ends.
Although I’m sure most have already read this, but I’d still recommend this read to anyone who loves dark fantasy elements. Read! Read! Read! 🙂