Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Book:  Shadow and Bone
Author:  Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:  Henry Holt
Date:  June 5, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A+!

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.
(Description and book cover from


Initial reaction

I think that this book has cast a magic spell on me.  Either that or the pages are infused with opium.  I WANT MORE!!!!

Title and Cover

I love, love, love this title and cover!  The whole Russian theme is carried out beautifully on the cover and it is a very attractive cover that captures the otherworldliness of the book without putting a girl in a dress on it.  Not that I hate the girls in dresses, but it’s nice to see something different.

The plot, the characters and whatnot

Holy cow!  Once I got into this book, the plot was non-stop and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.  I honestly put off starting this book because I started wondering why I had wanted to read it in the first place.  Then, it took me a couple of chapters to get into it.  But wow!  I normally don’t like “high fantasy” that takes place in somewhere other than the world I know, but this one seemed so real.  The author’s world building was nice because it was based in Russia, just given different names, I think.  I was intrigued by the whole concept of the Grisha.

It was very interesting to see Alina discover so much about herself, both her magical powers and herself personally.  I really felt like I was inside her head as I read.  It was like I could really understand her and connect with her voice.  I thought that all of the characters were well-developed and I really grew to love several of them.  I also loved watching Alina grow into a more confident woman and I can’t wait to see how she uses her newfound confidence in the next book.

Another thing I loved about this book is that it was different from anything else out there.  Right now, YA is full of paranormal and dystopian books.  Many of them are starting to feel the same.  This book is so totally different.  It seemed to be a mixture of paranormal and dystopian but with many twists that I haven’t seen and it felt almost like a folktale.  The only thing I’ve read lately that would even come close to this book in feeling is Grave Mercy, which was sort of a paranormal historical.  This book has that sense to a certain extent, but it still feels more like folklore.

A Shadow and Bone theme song

I love to hear and song and think about a book I’m reading or have read.  This song makes me think of this story.  I can just imagine Alina thinking most of the things in this song.  I loved the original by The Cure, but Adele’s cover is gorgeous and more fitting for Alina’s voice, obviously.

I also like this song with the book, but not for the whole book, just parts of it.

The final grade

This book is a definite A+.  I cannot stop thinking about it.  I cannot wait for the next installment.  It is well-written, intriguing and unique in a genre that is currently full of paranormals that seem to all be alike.  Go get this book as soon as you can on June 5th.  Like, wait outside the bookstore until it opens.  For reals.  You will not regret it!

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book. I loved the russian-esque setting, I loved the mythos, I loved the world-building, I loved Alina, and -- much to my surprise, especially considering his thick-headedness in the first four chapters -- I ended up loving Mal, too. I suppose anyone who reads the above who may have read the five preview chapters will have a vague idea that the plot and characters in "Shadow and Bone" are not always what they seem. This, my friends, is an understatement of gross proportions. But I can't go into more detail about all that or I'll end up throwing out some rather large spoilers.