Saturday, 16 August 2014

Book Review - Shadow &; Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone 
By: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Publication date: 5th June 2012
Publisher: Indigo (UK) / Henry Holt & Co (US)
Page Count: 308 (paperback) / 358 (hardback)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Purchased

Rating: 6.5
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.


Honesty time. I bought the UK edition of the book when it was first published and thought it was bad because I didn't understand it. You must understand that I was really young back then so ha. Then, in recent years, I was so close to giving it away before I joined the book community and realized this was a Leigh Bardugo book which everyone was raving about. I have just finished the whole trilogy and boy am I happy I kept that book.

The book begins with a starting that is quite intriguing. It starts with a back to the past kind of prologue thing before zooming in to the main character many years later. Basically the first book focuses more on the world building and stuff. There are so many new words that Leigh Bardugo added which made the world even more realistic and interesting. The world had this Russian-ish kind of world with magic and good and evil and stuff. It was also sort of medieval-ish when people used fires and carriages and stuff like that in their daily live. Their clothes and houses and social hierarchy was also very different from the modern world and even other societies of the medieval ages.

The book is basically about Alina's journey into the world of the Grisha and how she learns more about the good and evil of the world and how she can help her country. The main character is this girl, Alina, who is an orphan. She discovers that she has this unique power that can save everyone from this 'impenetrable darkness' called the Shadow Fold - which is destroying the great country they live in. Basically many people have died when crossing the Fold (they cross it because the Fold is like in the middle of the country), so many people would love for the Fold to be gone and Alina has the power to possible do this. Or at least the people believe that and the Darkling makes her believe that too. So she is brought to this special academy place for people like her who also have powers AKA the Grisha. Now the Darkling is this supposedly seductive person who is 'nice' but who turns out to be 'not so nice', if you know what I mean. He makes Alina get attracted to him but in the end, he isn't who he says he is and he has ulterior motives. Lastly, there is Mal, who does not really play much of a role in this book, but he's supposed to be the love interest and he's just really cool. (he plays a much bigger role in the future books) Also, my favorite character appears in the 2nd book so just FYI if you read the book, read on!

What I am Loving:
My favorite part of the book was the story building. I really enjoyed reading about the culture, the rules of the world and the whole Russian setting concept thing. I also thought that the plot was worth of continuing so I decided to start on the next book.

I also absolutely love the way Leigh ends the book. Her 'After' sections are THE BEST. My favorite line is always the first and last sentence though. 

Here's the first sentence:
"The boy and the girl stand at the railing of the ship, a true ship that rolls and rocks on the heaving back of the True Sea."

Here's the last sentence:
"They are orphans again, with no true home but each other and whatever life they can make together on the other side of the sea."

What I am Unsure Of:
I was unsure of what I feel about the characters and the main love plot. All the characters in the book didn't really pull me in at first and I only felt meh about them. Also, I mean I knew that Mal and Alina WOULD end up together but I wasn't sure if I would ship them because of how the first book went. The first book as mentioned was a little too slow for my liking. There wasn't much romance which I felt was key because this book does focus on romance to a certain extent. However, we see a lack of interaction between Mal and Alina and even when they were together, or either one thought of the other, it just felt superficial. Therefore, I wasn't sure if I would like or ship this pairing because of the first book.

Final Verdict:
I decided to read on in the end because I was really curious to see how the story unfolds and what the rules and limitations of this world are. I really wanted to see the characters grow and develop. I think mostly because the idea, the plot, the setting was so great, it drove me to start reading the 2nd and 3rd book. Of which I have to mention have made me feel so satisfied for this series.

I would fully recommend this book because it is the start of the trilogy and I really enjoyed the climax of the series and the ending! I will be posting my Ruin and Rising review soon! Do look out for them! :)

*All pictures and graphics do not belong to me. I take no credit at any of it.
** All opinions are mine and are in no way influenced by anyone or anything.

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