Friday 28 September 2012

Reivew: Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha (1)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Release Date: 05 June 2012
Date Read: September 2012
Rating: ★★★★

I find it really hard to write coherent reviews for books I adored. I don't know why. But I'll try.

Shadow and Bone was utterly captivating. The prologue was a real hooker for me. I knew then that I was going to give the book at least 4 stars. I love that kind of writing style and the my interest was piqued with the mention of these orphaned children.

Alina Starkov holds incredible power that she had no knowledge of. She never fit in, not in the orphanage, not in the First Army where she serves as a mapmaker. The only time she feels comfortable is when she's with her best friend, Mal. But even Mal has started to spend less time around her, suddenly popular with his looks and tracker skills. One day, Alina's regiment is attacked crossing the Fold by terrifying flesh-eating monsters. Mal is about to be killed, and without knowing it, Alina saves him and the rest of the regiment. Her true powers shows itself, revealing Alina to be one of the most important and powerful Grisha the kingdom, Ravka, will ever see. As a result, she is swept up and taken  away to the Royal Court, where she must train and hone her powers to be the saviour Ravka desperately needs. She will discover secrets surrounding the ancient Grisha and the Darkling.

One of the most important things in a novel, especially a high fantasy novel, is world building. The reader has to be convinced, comfortable and engaged in the world the author created. The reader has to get used to the setting- time and place- of the world. And I feel like Shadow and Bone did very well in this part. Bardugo did exceptionally well in explaining how everything worked; the Grisha, Ravka's history, etc. Her writing was vivid in description and life, without being overdone. The premise of the book certainly wasn't new- seemingly ordinary girl has extraordinary powers to save mankind, etc. But Bardugo's execution in world building felt like the idea/plot was original.

I thought the characters were developed really well. Each one had their own story, their own struggles and their own strengths. Alina continually grew as a character through the novel. She was this weak, feeble girl. She gained confidence with her own skin, and her own abilities. Mal wasn't really present in the book that much but on the parts that he was, he was irresistible. He really was and he certainly had depth. He wasn't a piece of eye candy, make no mistake about that. He made mistakes, he had flaws but he did something about it, along with the rest of the characters. Bardugo created such wonderfully human characters and people. It was great. And the Darkling. He's the head of all Grisha, the most powerful, the leader, second in command to the king. He's dark, mysterious and alluring. It was kind of addictive. I got little shivers every time he was there. I got it bad.
It sounds like a love triangle with Alina, Mal and Darkling, doesn't it? I really can't say much about it without revealing what happens. But it was beautiful. The romance was subtle. Not once did it overshadow the actual plot of the novel (thank goodness).

Bardugo certainly knows her stuff. It was a perfect mix of action, fantasy and romance, it kept up the pace. I need to have the next book. I do. I need it. Now.

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