Title: Shadow and Bone Author: Leigh Bardugo Series: The Grisha #1 Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Date Published: May 17, 2012 Buy: Amazon
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.
“I hope you don’t expect fairness from me, Alina. It isn’t one of my specialties.”
I wonder if there was some way I could dump all my thoughts into this review without having to put them in words. Well if that were possible, I think this review would become even more confusing. Meh, reviews should write themselves using the information from our brains.
I think it’s harder to write one so long after I’ve read the actual book, it’s not my fault I was so confused and so hyper after finishing the book. It took me a while to settle down. I was just re-reading the quotes on Goodreads again from this book and well, I feel hyper again. I think this book is worth being hyper over; it has so much going on in it, so much awesome, it’s kind of unbelievable.
Ravka has been at war for ever since Alina can remember, she is an orphan of the war and she works in the army as someone who takes care of/draws maps. While trying to cross the fold, her reignment is attacked and she reveals a dormant power she didn’t know she had, the Darkling, who has been searching for someone with this power for a long time, immediately takes her into his custody, she now has to move away from her best friend, and start a whole new life.
Hey I don’t usually talk about the setting but this one is worth talking about. Okay so this book takes place in a country called Ravka. West and east Ravka are divided by a thing called fold (check out the map below). The fold is a dark place, where dangerous creatures- who are capable of eating you alive, live.
The whole world building of this place is amazing, you have the two different coasts, the capital city, the Palace-where the king lives and the Little Palace-for the Grishas (gishas are people with powers). Grish’s are divided into three categories depending on the kind of magic they have, the categories being Corporalki, Etherealki and Materialki.
Alina is a rather flawed female lead. She isn’t pretty and would like to be but she doesn’t complain about it every single day. She is heartbroken because she is in love with her best friend and she knows that he doesn’t feel the same. She would like to forget him but it’s hard to bury that little girl who loved him. You can tell that her subconscious mind is aware of the games being played with her but she chooses to ignore it because if that were true where would that leave her? In the end she wants somewhere to belong. She hoped she would belong in the Little Palace with other Grishas but that’s not happening because everyone envies her for the special attention she gets from the Darkling.
The Darkling is a rather interesting character, he isn’t portrayed as a love interest (in my opinion at least) but he could be one. You see that there is something going on between Alina and the Darkling yet you aren’t sure what exactly that is. He could be evil or he could be good, he has this air of mystery around him that makes it hard for us to decipher whether or not he is the good guy. I think he has his appeal and that he is rather alluring but definitely not someone to fall in love with, someone to lust after sure but he isn’t someone who is suited to be a romantic interest. He is selfish and for him, he will always be first, if he were to fall in love and become a good guy, I think he would lose his appeal, his charm, in the process.
Mal. This guy. Is Awesome.
Can I put some of his awesome quotes here without spoiling everything? Should I? Yeah I totally should. It’ll help build my case about his awesomeness.
“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely.”
“I don’t care if you danced naked on the roof of the Little Palace with him. I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.” “I’m not like you, Mal. I never really fit in the way you did. I never really belonged anywhere.” “You belonged with me.
Okay so Mal is the best friend *squeals* (I love best friends falling in love romances). Okay before I say anything about him I gots to says this, otherwise my brain will overload and I’ll forget everything I was trying to say. Mal hasn’t always been love with Alina, Alina has been, it’s a different kind of best friend romance, not where the girl never sees that the best friend has been in love with her, here she has been in love with him and she doesn’t want him to know that under any circumstance. Okay back to the point. She and Mal become friends because they were in the same orphanage as children, the did everything together but as they became older there become a sort of distance between them. Mal always loved her as a friend but nothing more, it took her disappearing and him missing her so much that he felt like he lost a part of himself, to finally realize that he was in love.
I think that he is a rather loyal friend, even when he isn’t in love with her, he would do anything for her. Plus he isn’t portrayed as a good guy, there is no good guy/bad boy thing going on in his book. I cannot explain this more with spoiling it so I won’t, but when you read it, you will see what I mean.
The plot of this book is amazing. Oh dear lord (I think someone is going to notice soon that I’ve been using that phrase a lot lately), it takes a while to build up, of course it does, but when it does…. it BAMS right in your face and you’re left trying to keep up, breathless. This book is the perfect fantasy novel for fantasy nerds, it has action, fantasy, mysteries and and and… LIESS!!!! (I am obsessed with lies aren’t I?)
Okay, the only thing I am worried about is that the next book may turn into a possible love triangle, I have faith in the author but that doesn’t make me less paranoid, I’ll read it once I’ve confirmed it doesn’t because otherwise, my heart will break, I am too in love with Mal to see his heart break.