Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry and Colt and Co.
Release date: June 5, 2012
Rating: 5 stars – I LOVED THIS TOO PIECES!
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The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
TREAD CAREFULLY DEARIE. SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Uniquely creative, Smoke and Bone is a riveting adventure that will take readers to a beautiful and dangerous far away land.
There are no words to describe how much I absolutely adored this book. I dived into this fantastic read with no exceptions or knowledge of what it was about. All I knew was that this book had raving reviews and that a lot of my friends loved it.
I am so glad I picked this up. I regret nothing. It was definitely a win and one of the most alluring and uniquely creative stories I’ve ever read.
Shadow and Bone follows the story of Alina Starkov, an orphan who has power beyond her wildest dreams. Her gift is discovered on a military voyage across the Unsea – a terrible, dark place with monsters. When she is threatened her power is unleashed, and thus, Alina’s true journey with the Grisha begins.
The world that Leigh Bardugo creates is absolutely intriguing and spellbinding. I was completely enraptured by the intricate ways in which the world was founded upon. Bardugo’s world is set in a once great nation called Ravka, where it has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a place of impenetrable darkness where monsters live and feast on the flesh of humans who dare enter. There is also the creation of a class structure. I liked the names of the titles because they were Russian (I think) and it showed that Bardugo set time to research these details. To me, it showed that she wanted to make this story as realistic and concrete as possible when it came to the foundation of it. The other thing I really liked was the parallel’s I saw between the government of Ravka with the government conflict of Russia in the 19th century.
Please correct me if I’m wrong. I want to say Imperial Russia, but that sounds very wrong. I just loved the world building in this novel. It was absolutely phenomenal and nothing like I’ve ever read.
For the characters, I absolutely loved Alina Starkov. I thought that she was a kickass heroine. She was strong, yet naive and unsure at the same time. At the very beginning she was weak and full of doubt. But as she grows into her power, so does her confidence. It’s one of the things that I loved about her because it was plausible. There’s a moment towards the end of the novel where Alina loses or there is a sense of her losing. Faith seems lost. Even though it was a very disheartening time, I also thought that it was brilliantly written. Why? Because it was realistic. The hero (in this case heroine) does not always win. There is a loophole, of course. Not everything is as it seems, which is GOOD BECAUSE I WAS SO SCARED FOR ALINA AND MAL.
I also like that Alina’s thoughts are raw and true. Her worries and insecurities. Her strengths and views. Throughout the novel, I got a true sense of who she was and I felt and sympathized with her very much. It’s been a while since I’ve truly felt this way about a character and it’s one of the many attributes of the story that I loved.
Moving on to Mal…I really loved his character. He was cocky, brooding, and strong. He’s Alina’s childhood friend and also the first boy she ever loved. Mal is an orphan like Alina and part of the Second Army. He’s a Tracker, which means that he is good at tracking game and people. There were quite a bit of hints about Mal’s ability and how it may be more…like how he could possibly be a Grisha, like Alina.
But that is more of a theory and it may be bias because I love them together and will ship them until the ends of the earth. For me, Mal kind of reminded me of your average, indifferent guy. Yano, the kind that you secretly love, but is blind to your feelings? Yep. That is Mal for you. But I adored him. His relationship with Alina is played in a different dynamic; one that I don’t often see in YA novels. It all plays out so nicely without a possible collusion because it’s going too fast. Everything is set for the right time and I just love, love, loved it!
Then, there is the Darkling…
The Darkling’s character is well, swoon worthy. His dialogue, his actions. Everything about him makes you trust him and just love him. He wants to right what his ancestor caused centuries ago, which was create the Shadow Fold. When he finds Alina, it is the only glimpse of faith he’s had in a long time. Because of her power, she can help him right the wrongs and give him salvation.
If Leigh Bardugo was here, she would probably be laughing diabolically at my description above ^^^
Let’s just say that things aren’t always what they seem. Bardugo seems to do that throughout the entirety of the novel and I fell for it!
Well, you know what, I will not fall for such trickery in the sequel. I will not wear my heart on my sleeve and let fictional characters stomp on my heart.
*breathes in, breathes out*
Okay, I’m alright. Got a little bit crazy there, didn’t I?
Overall, Shadow and Bone was a thrilling and beautiful read. The story line kept me actively engaged and wanting more within every sitting. Reading this book actually took a little over a week and it was because I wanted to let it sink in. There were many aspects of the world that I wanted to completely understand and in the end the effort was worthwhile. Uniquely creative, Shadow and Bone is a riveting adventure that will take readers to a beautiful and dangerous far away land. I definitely recommend this fierce read!
It has successfully earned a spot in my TOP 13 READS of 2013 so far and I cannot wait to get my copy of the sequel, Siege and Storm in the mail Saturday. I have been coveting it every since I finished Shadow and Bone.
For your viewing pleasure, here is the book trailer for Shadow and Bone. Gives me chills at how mysterious and captivating it is.