Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 5, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural
Format: Hardcover
Source: Barnes & Noble
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.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

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(Warning: Review may contain spoilers!)

If I am going to be honest right from the get-go, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is one hell of a fantastic adventure. It follows the story of an orphan named Alina Starkov, who is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become one of the Darkling's apprentice. He takes her to the Little Palace to provide her some shelter as she trains physically and hones her power to summon the Sun. But, of course, everything is not what Alina is led to believe . . .

The book has an element of surprise. At some point, Bardugo would come at you with specific scenes that will truly make your brows rise in surprise. Or it can evoke a knowing smirk. Or it startles you so much, you'll gasp. These "surprises" kept coming at the most random times, and it really makes the story even more exciting and it will make you ponder about what could possibly happen next.

Mal and Alina's friendship. They've grown up together at an orphanage, and ever since being tested by the Grisha, has worked alongside each other. The typical boy/girl friendship cliché was obviously thereone feels something more, the other doesn't—yet I still adore how their relationship is so strong that it manages to endure all evil. They still have an unbreakable trust and love for one another to remain standing by one another's side.

Alina's character. She is orphaned by the Border Wars, thus having to spend most of her childhood in an orphanage with Mal, who obviously became her best confidante. Bardugo first written Alina off as a weakling—sickly-looking, skinny, and frail—but as she unfortunately finds herself in the midst of a very ugly situation, she learns how to sharpen herself. Although she has had her fair amount of Grisha training experience, most of her powers and its immense capabilities are still honed by her natural skill, intellect, and true bravery and confidence . . . and that is what makes her such an admirable heroine.

This book is astonishing in all its wonderful glory. I candidly could not find anything that I dislike about Bardugo's work. Shadow and Bone is full of breath-hitching action and deceitful (and heart-tingling) romance, and I just found myself incapable of putting the book down. Bardugo's gripping writing and brilliant plot structure has encapsulated my full interest in tact. And because this is a trilogy, I am more than excited to delve more into the dangerous world of Ravka and know more about what else lies ahead for Alina Starkov to surmount.

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Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as a makeup artist in Hollywood, and she can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic. Shadow and Bone is her first novel.

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