Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo site
Format: ARC, 358 pages
Release Date: 6/03/2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillian)
Source: Received from publisher for review
“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.”
Alina and Mal have been best friends since they were very young, orphaned by a centuries old war. Although she wishes they were more, Mal is oblivious to her feelings. In an emergency situation she accidentally reveals the power she didn’t know she had. She is the long awaited Sun Summoner, a Grisha. The only one who can destroy the Fold. She is whisked away from Mal and taken to the King’s Palace to live with the other Grisha and learn to use her power.
Alina was very likable. She’s witty, humble, and self confident with a strong moral compass. She’s just trying to find her place in the world, trying to find where she belongs. Alina and Mal were really funny together. The banter between them was actually believable, not the usual obviously scripted repartee.
Plot and Story:
For awhile it looked like this book was going to be imaginative, but predictable. All of the pieces were fitting together into the assumed puzzle when BOOM! Out of the blue, there’s a really big twist that I didn’t see coming. Huge game changer. It totally knocked my socks off. (Not that I was wearing any) And basically right there and then, my liking of this book went from 3.5 stars to 5 full blown freaking stars.
What really sets this book apart from other fantasy novels is the superb world building. I was instantly immersed in this fantasy world that could be set in the very distant past or future. And it was incredibly easy to understand what was going on. I really liked how the language and terms were drawn from foreign languages such as Russian.
I honestly wasn’t expecting to love this book so much. I didn’t even request the ARC, I just ended up on a bulk mailing list and got it by surprise. I had it sitting on my shelf for a long time, and then realized it was going to be released soon and thought I should get to it. I wish I would have read this book months ago! It was really a splendid read! I have no hesitation giving it 5 of 5 stars. I highly recommend checking it out from your local library or going to your local indie bookstore and picking up a copy.