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Review: Shadow and Bone

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Title:Shadow and Bone

Author:Leigh Bardugo

Series:Book 1

Rating★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis

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.

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Alina was shy and a little lost in the first half of the book, but she was more independent later on.

Darkling was unyielding, determined, and unforgiving.

Mal was kind of oblivious but very loyal and kind.

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“I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina,” he said. “You and I are going to change the world.” 

Although I read the Six of Crows duology first, I am still so thrilled to be finally reading this series. I know, I know, I should’ve read this forever ago. I totally agree because I enjoyed this book so much.

Leigh Bardugo crafts such an intricate and interesting world in Shadow of Bone. I felt pulled in right away because of the relationship between the two childhood friends, but I was also so intrigued by the magic system and the mystery of the Fold.

Alina, the main character, develops quite a bit between the beginning and end of the book. She starts out as a very quiet, dependent, and insecure girl. She relies heavily upon her best friend, Mal, as her way of fitting into the world. It was always them against the world but because of her developing feelings for him, she starts questioning if there is anything besides the past really holding them together.

Her complex relationship with Mal makes the story more interesting because it wasn’t just a romantic angle that it was playing with. Mal is her connection to the human world, everything non-Grisha. It became her ancho to her past life and often times her path seemed to be leading her to a point where she’d have to decide which world she wanted to belong to, Grisha or human.

“Thanks for finding me.”
“Always.”
 

The other major player in this book was obviously the Darkling. I loved, loved, loved, this character. He was mysterious and seemingly unapproachable but he had these moments where he became so human and vulnerable. He seemed repentant and like he was weighed down by his ancestors’ mistakes. The Darkling was the type of misunderstood villain you wanted to root for. And then things became even more complicated in the book once we uncovered more of his past and motivations. He was definitely one of those morally gray characters that are memorable and I’m looking forward to seeing more of in the next book.

Finally, I want to touch on the plot and ending a bit. The beginning of the book set a direction for Alina in the Darkling, but it did feel like the plot lagged a bit in the middle because of how Alina wasn’t making progress with her abilities. While I totally understand that this was a period of character development for her (because of why she was holding back) it is something to keep in mind. Things pick up fast once there’s the big reveal about one of the characters, and the ending is a total roller coaster ride; I was on the edge of my seat!

I definitely enjoyed this book and I’m happy to be catching up on my Leigh Bardugo. Shadow and Bone is a must-read for fans of YA fantasy

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Did you like the Six of Crows or Grisha Trilogy more?

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