Yesterday I went to the Fierce Reads tour stop in Bellingham (and didn’t take a single picture because I fail at life!) and it reminded me that I hadn’t yet posted my review for Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. And I loved this book, a lot, so I wanted to post my gushing review of it’s awesomeness!
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
First and foremost I loved the feel of this book. I loved the world it took place in. I loved that it felt like Russia instead of England or France (where most western fantasies feel like.) and I loved that the Darkness was an actual thing. The uncrossable black scar in the middle of the country. It was so different and interesting. And I loved the Grisha and how they were one part awesome magic users, one part a court of intrigue and one part high school drama.
The characters were fantastic! Alina was almot the stereotypical “not good at anything until she is the chosen one” young adult female lead but well…she kind of just was that. I like that trope though. And once she was shown to be this world’s version of the Chosen One she didn’t magically become good at everything. She had to work really hard, extra hard because she was behind all of the other Grisha.
I also loved her motivation for not letting people know earlier that she was a Grisha. I loved that it wasn’t a surprise to her. That was a change on the trope as well.
The Darkling was an awesomely amazing character as well. Though, I didn’t really like him until his twist in the second half of the novel then I loved everything about him. I cannot say much on this because of spoilers but I love his mystery and his motivations and he isn’t absolutely one thing or the other. I don’t like him as a romantic interest but I like him as a complex character.
And then there’s Mal. All of my favourite things about Mal happen near the end of the book but I do love his devotion to the family that he and Alina created. I love how he’s his own person apart from her but still likes to be a part of her. Even when others might see her as holding him back.
Also. I liked the stag. I generally just love anything and everything with a stag involved in the plot or stag imagery or things like that. I happen to think they are very beautiful, mysterious animal and I just love when they are used.
If there was anything about this book that I didn’t like, I don’t remember what it was so it must not have been important. Therefore, you should all read it. Also, it has an gorgeous cover and an amazing map…and all the artwork is just spot on with the story. A truly well put together book.
Also, Leigh gave me some buttons at the signing yesterday.