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’ve heard about Shadow and Bone a while back but was mildly interested. I had begun reading more YA books by then via audiobooks and I enjoy that format when “reading” YA books. The Boss, who works out of state, decided that he wanted to read more books on his downtown and asked for recommendations. I honestly shove more YA recommendations his way which he reads without question and even finishes the whole series before I do! Because of that, I decided to go ahead and read Shadow and Bone since he said it was OK.
Let me just say that I was blown away by this book! I love the unique setting and the unique characters. Ms. Bardugo’s vivid descriptions and world building really helped me imagine the unique world of Ravka.
The story centers around Alina Starkov, an orphan mapmaker who discovers she has Grisha powers that seem to be more powerful than the Darkling, the leader the Grisha. She suddenly discovers she has powers when she tries to save her best friend and fellow orphan, Mal when they were attacked. Suddenly, Alina is whisked away to the palace to begin her training as a true Grisha. She suddenly finds herself seduced and attracted to the Darkling while trying to figure out her real place.
I initially thought that this was going to be the same old love triangle but I was wrong. Without spoiling the whole book, I will just leave it at that.
Typical of first books in a series, there is more world building and character intros than a non-series book. So the book did start a little too slow for my taste but it started picking up by the end of the book.
Shadow and Bone is a definite must read for light Fantasy fans!
I also have to add that I LOVE the cover art! I think it definitely stands out.
Narrated by Lauren Fortgang, Shadow and Bone seems to take on a different feel with the narrator’s use of voice and inflections. I felt Ms. Fortgang added more drama to the book. I probably wouldn’t have gotten through the slow parts without her masterful narration.