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.
No matter how many times I read this book I never tire of it, it’s a beautiful book that I want to make everyone I know read.
Shadow and Bone is the kind of book that you finish and immediately need to rush out and buy the next book in the series (which I did). It’s a beautiful story full of action, romance and magic. The world building in this story is excellent, it’s gorgeously written, with a blend of magic and Russian folklore. Bardugo has created an immense world full of history and myth and the Kingdom of Ravka leaps off the page in full glory. It leads you to be completely immersed in the story and this beautiful land.
My favourite thing about this book was the magical elements and the way that Leigh Bardugo brought this to life. The Grisha are masters of the ‘small science’ and command a variety of different powers from summoning fire to stopping your heart. Children are tested all around the country in hope of finding new Grisha with new powers. They go to school together, and jostle and fight to be the strongest. The chapters in which Alina is training are perhaps some of my favourites, and part of the reason for that is it’s such a hard graft, she is not magically amazing overnight, she has to work and fight and push herself in order to harness her power.
This brings me to the characters, Alina is an interesting character – though she can be a bit whiny and spineless – the character development is great and she grows into a really fascinating protagonist. There are so many characters that I love. Genya, another Grisha who lives at the palace is fantastic, she’s witty and clever and is definitely one of my favourites. Without a doubt my favourite character has to be the Darkling. He’s the ultimate mysterious character – you’re constantly trying to guess what his motives are and what he’s really up to.
Shadow and Bone really is a fabulous story – it will keep you hooked right to the very end. I definitely advise you to start this one on a weekend, because you’re not going to want to eat, sleep or move till you reach the end.