Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

shadow_bone_sketch_both3Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
 The Grisha #1
Publication Date: 05 June 2012
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Hardcover, 356 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | 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.

Rating: ★★★★★

You know those type of stories where an unlikely hero is actually really special and is whisked away into a whole new world where they have an epic adventure? I’ve read quite a few of those from the fanatsy/adventure selection on Wattpad, but I could never seem to find one that was up to standard.

That was when I found Shadow and Bone – or more like it found me, thanks to Adelena’s constant pestering for me to read it. I’ll never regret picking up that book as I LOVE it to bits! (I finished it in 1.5 days (!!!), which is really surprising as I just got out of a terrible reading slump) Of course, Shadow and Bone is definitely of higher standard than the other stories that can be found on Wattpad. It’s the ultimate adventure story, I’m telling you – one that I’ve been searching far and wide for.

Beautiful – that’s the one word I think of when it comes to the story. Just about everything has this air of elegance to it! And magical. Shadow and Bone is so magical. From the kefta of the Grisha to the world it was set in, everything is simply stunning. It’s like the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) decided to give birth to the book.

Not only that, the map of Ravka is drawn with so much detail! Plus, the chapter art for the book is so gorgeous you can stare at it for hours and still be fascinated with it. This brings me to the structure of the book – it starts with the prologue, before, continues on with the story and ends off with an epilogue, after. What makes the prologue and epilogue of this book so special is the fact that they’re both written from a third person’s POV, whereas the rest of the story is from Alina’s POV. Also, the writing in the prologue and epilogue has a unique mix of nostalgia and something else (it’s quite hard to describe), and I really like that the particular style was used to start and end the book.

I found Alina likeable as the way she acted and spoke felt real. Although she kept denying her powers during the inital stage of discovery, which was rather irritating, I decided to let it slide as after all, realising that you’re the only one with powers that can save the universe is pretty damn crazy.

And for some odd reason, I kept envisioning Mal as Kristoff from Frozen. Except that he’s much more attractive and probably doesn’t walk in a clumpy manner. I totally ship Mal and Alina! THEY’RE JUST PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER OKAY. Yes, the Darkling may be handsome and all powerful and charming, but he can take a step back and let the Malina ship sail!

Also, I really liked how Leigh Bardugo dealt with the Zoya-Alina drama – it wasn’t dragged on longer than it should have lasted as Zoya wasn’t one of the more important characters. Yay for less unnecessary drama!

I don’t have much else to say, except that Shadow and Bone should be the next book that you read. So go on, head down to the library and borrow a copy or maybe get one of your own! It’s really worth it. :)


Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Published: 05 June 2012
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Hardcover, 356 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Rating: ★★★★

Before reading Shadow and Bone, I’ve read great reviews about it and naturally, had high expectations. Moreover, Veronica Roth, one of my favourite authors of all time claimed it was really good so I obviously couldn’t not read it. The book both did and did not live up to my expectations.

The protagonist, Alina Starkov, lived a pretty mundane life (or as mundane as being a soldier in the First Army could be) and didn’t seem to have good self-esteem at the start. However, she made tremendous growth as the story progressed (after she found out she’s a Grisha and all that), slowly learning more about herself. But there were definitely times where I felt a little annoyed with Alina and her naïveté because I expected her to be a stronger character.

As for the love angle/triangle… I wouldn’t exactly call it that. I can’t explain though, because that would just give off spoilers. What I can say is that those who dislike love angles/triangles would probably be able to tolerate the romance. Regarding the guys, I started off preferring the Darkling because Mal seemed way too arrogant and immature at the start. And I’ve never really liked blonde guys. But I always got the niggling feeling that there was a darker (no pun intended) side to the Darkling so I didn’t truly ship any of them.

Although, in the end, Mal won me over. Probably because we got to see more of him towards the end and hey! He’s a pretty decent (fine, more than just decent) guy!

My favourite part of the book was the whole concept of the fantasy world it was set in. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if I were in it, I would want to be a Grisha so darn bad. They kind of reminded me of the element Benders in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, what with all the element wielding or in the case of Heartrenders, the wielding of blood.

One concern I had before starting on Shadow and Bone was the fact that many people criticized the ancient Russia vibes in it being inaccurate and all that. Personally, I have close to no knowledge on ancient Russia so if it had any inaccuracies, I wasn’t able to tell. However, it was just inspired by ancient Russia, not set in it. So I guess it shouldn’t be expected that everything be completely realistic. It is a fantasy novel after all!

Although slightly predictable, the ending was quite engaging and though it wasn’t really a cliffhanger, it will definitely leave you curious. Very curious.

In a nutshell, I wouldn’t say Shadow and Bone was completely amazing due to the fact that Alina really wasn’t the best protagonist out there. She was a tad too gullible. Despite that, the book does have plenty of redeeming qualities, especially the wonderful, scary, addictive, fantastic world it was set in.