Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

Release date: June 5th 2012
Published by: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.

Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.

There's something incredibly refreshing in reading a well written fantasy book. Maybe it's the fact that the author has created a whole new world in which you can loose yourself in, or maybe the characters are so different from what I'm used to, yet I'm able to relate to them completely. Well, both happened while I was reading Shadow and Bone. I wasn't sure whether I would like this novel - usually, I'm afraid to read books that have a lot of hype - but Leigh Bardugo enchanted me with her fantastic writing, realistic world, and human characters.

Don't get me wrong - it's not like this novel doesn't have any flaws. It's just that the good things about it has captivated me so thoroughly I forgot about the bad aspects of the story as I was reading. It was like a balance - the negative was cancelled by the positive. Take it the romance, for example. I hated that Alina seemed so obviously in love with Mal since the first chapter. It felt like insta-love, and that's something pretty much unforgivable these days. However, as the plot progressed, and we got to see how deeper the connection between these two characters ran, I understood every little aspect of their love for each other, especially on Alina's part. It was fantastic.

I fell in love with them, with the way they were so passionate and human about what happened around them. How, even though they made mistakes, they tried to be better and do the right thing. It's pretty ridiculous, I know, but this tiny thing made me happy. I'm tired of stupid heroines that make stupid decisions and it's up for the heroes to save them. Instead, here we have a young man and woman determined to make the best out of the situation they're currently in, regardless of the specifics. I feel like I could on and on about how realistic and heart-warming they were, but that would spoil the best part.

And the best part, I feel compulsed to say, it's the world itself. In the beginning, I was lost - I mean, what is the Fold? How did it come to be? As Alina got lost in world of the Grisha, however, her surroundings felt like home to me, and I began to understand exactly what Bardugo created here. Language, mythology, geography, magic, politics - that's the best part of a fantasy novel, and Shadow and Bone has it all. Bardugo's writing style was adorable, full of descriptions that weren't tiring.

Shadow and Bone is a lovely fantasy novel, and I can say for sure that I'm looking forward to reading its sequel - though I have no idea what Alina's next adventure is gonna be like. Leigh Bardugo has captived me in every way, and I'm eternally grateful for that. And if you're asking yourself: Does this book really lives up to its hype?, well...

More about the book:


  1. Yay! I am so glad you loved this book :D Although.. do not understand how Mal/Alina could feel like insta-love (A) hih. I think the Darkling stuff was more insta-love. And I hated that. But just cause I didn't like the Darkling at all ;) And I loved Mal. <3 so much. Sigh. I just need more Mal in the sequel ;p Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this awesome book :D

    1. Thanks, Carina! *-*
      I don't know, it's just that... Alina was in love with Mal since the first chapter, and I felt like that came out of nowhere. But later on, I understood, so I don't think this is insta-love anymore :P
      Oooh, I like the Darkling! He has a lot of potential to be explored, don't you think? And yeah.. it was kind of an insta-love, ^-^