Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha Trilogy (#1)
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
How Received: I have no idea.
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.
I have no idea how I got this book.
I just know that one day, I was talking to the fabulous Donna at BookExpo America about how much she loved it and then when I went home to clean my shelves it was there. I don't remember getting it in the mail. It suddenly was.
I figured, between Donna and it's magical reappearance, it was a sign that I should read it.
Best. Sign. Ever.
I knew nothing about Shadow and Bone going into it -- I actually had to remind myself to read the back so I had some basis for it after I read the prologue and the first two chapters -- and I tore through it in a matter of hours.
Here's the deal: If you absolutely loathe all kinds of fantasy in any way shape or form, stay away from this book. If you don't, it's definitely worth a read.
Because this book is damn good.
I dawdled on writing this review for a few days because I wanted to make sure I really thought it was as good as I thought when I first finished it. And it is. It's got great character development - in a real, human character - with a great plot and a great world. There's only one snag with the love plot, because it's pitifully obvious even from the beginning where it's going to end up, but I looked past that because the rest of the book was definitely worth it.
While Alina makes some stupid decisions and isn't nearly as badass as some of my other heroines, I liked her. This is definitely a more traditional fantasy story -- girl gets powers, girl nearly gets killed, girl needs to save the world. I appreciate my traditional fantasy stories.
I didn't love it as much as Donna did, partly because I prefer my heroines a little less on the love-obsessed side, but I understand why she adored it as much as she did. It's a great book with a fast pace and a really, really great world -- which is, of course, the reason I read fantasy.
Will I be picking up the sequel? Oh yes.
Overall Rating & Final Comments: 9/10. A bit of a cliche love plot, but one of the best of the new fantasies I've read.
Thief's Covenant or Shadow and Bone?: There's no comparing Alina and Widdershins; while I love Alina and her character growth, Widdershins is infinitely more badass and I love her growth even more.
Have you read Shadow and Bone? What do you think?