Title: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Summary: 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.
Final Rating: ♥♥♥♥
I went into this book with a lot of expectations, and I can safely say that I was not disappointed at all. This trilogy is all over the book community on the Internet, and I have heard nothing but fantabulous things about it. Even then, I will admit that I read this book more because I was fascinated by the phenomenon that was the Darkling rather than reading it for the plot. My heart belongs to the Darkling, yes, but the plot was a pleasant surprise. All in all, it was a very, very good book.
The story was intriguing. Bardugo sets up the atmosphere wonderfully, and she doesn’t present the vast amount of detail in this novel in one, massive clump in the beginning of the book. She does it gradually so you don’t get bogged down with everything like usually with other-world fantasy novels. The story was captivating. Fast-paced. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and my eyes weren’t reading fast enough. The only part I disliked about this novel was the absolutely unnecessary love triangle. I am over love triangles, and whenever I encounter one in a novel that doesn’t need to be there, it just irks me.
Okay, so this is where I’m confused about this book. I didn’t like Alina much, and I didn’t really care for Mal. But I feel like the lack of character development and personality in those two is balanced out because of the Darkling. Because he’s freaking mind-blowingly perfect, if we’re talking about him in a character sense. Powerful, ambitious, mysterious, manipulative, dark, brooding, angry, and oh so sexy! I haven’t encountered a character with such potential in a YA novel in a long, long time. I hope that in the next two books, we get to learn more about his past, because that would be fantastic.
Leigh Bardugo’s a very talented writer, and that comes across in the novel. She uses words efficiently and effectively. She doesn’t overdo anything. Her world-building was good, her action scenes were good, her romantic scenes were good. Her writing was great, and I would love to read more books by her.
Would I recommend? Absolutely!
Would I re-read? Yes!