Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publication Date: June 5th 2012
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.
Review: I immediately read this book after finishing Six of Crows and I’m definitely in LOVE with Leigh Bardugo. The Grishaverse is so exciting and Bardugo doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to world-building and character development. Shadow and Bone was intoxicating and I got lost in the pages immediately. Basically this story is based on the history behind the Shadow Fold/Unsea in Ravka and how it was created by a Darkling (type of Grisha) centuries ago. Enter Alina Starkov: a Sun Summoner with the supposed power to destroy the Fold and bring Ravka peace. The thing is that she isn’t aware of this hidden power and she suddenly finds herself answering to the Darkling and the King of Ravka himself. She gets separated from her best friend Mal in the process, who is a master tracker in the army, but is not Grisha. Every time they’re together in the book I just want to squish their faces because they are ADORABLE and I ship them hard.
Enter the Darkling: the most powerful Grisha in all of Ravka and leader of the Second Army. He’s evasive and cunning and plays Ravka like a damn chessboard. He and Kaz Brekker have so many similarities that it’s hard not to compare them. At first I was swooning because he’s basically described as tall, dark, and delicious with eyes that penetrate your soul. But, then he started to give me the chills and creepy vibes. I was very confused about his character because he genuinely wanted to help Alina, but then got all cold and distant. Those are the kind of things that make you go “hmmmmm…is he evil or anti-hero?” Let me tell you, the Darkling certainly got my heart pumping and I found myself in a total Edward vs. Jacob scenario ALL OVER AGAIN. Silly love triangles always get me.
This whole book was definitely a crazy ride and was filled with insane twists and turns. It should totally come with a warning: plot twists will cause dizziness. I found myself starting to doubt good characters and fall for the baddies, it was insane. Bardugo sure can plot the hell out of a book and I’m not even sure where this series will go, but I’m dying from a massive book hangover and only one thing can cure it: the sequel. If you love YA and fantasy, run to the bookstore now and get all the Leigh Bardugo books.
“Fine, make me your villain.”
“I could be merciful.”
“The problem with wanting, is that it makes us weak.”