Review – Shadow and Bone
  • Posted:
  • March 13, 2012
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– UK cover –

Shadow and Bone is one of those books I heard about ages ago and have been excited for ever since. I’m happy to say that reading this book was not a disappointment. Leigh Bardugo has crafted a wonderful, potent debut that will sit in the back of my consciousness for months to come.

Alina is an orphan mapmaker living in Ravka, a world of magic and intrigue based on Russia. She has romantic feelings for her best friend, Mal (a tracker), but is unable to tell him. One day when their troop is attacked on the Shadow Fold by Volcras Mal is seriously hurt. While trying to protect him Alina unleashes a latent power which will change everything.

Before she can protest Alina is taken away to the royal court. She is trained to develop her power by the best. Despite her success she has a hard time fitting in with the other Grishas – men and women who are born with different magical abilities. Alina is unlike them in many fundamental ways and her pride will not allow her to forget who she was before. Within all of this the Darkling, a man with the most power in Ravka, has taken a shine to her. She is dubious of his intentions at first – Is he grooming her for something clandestine? Is he the answer to all of her desires? And, most importantly, will Alina allow her bright future to consume her shadowed past?

This book is incredible, plain and simple. At first it reminded me vividly of D.M. Cornish’s fantastic Monster Blood Tattoo series, but as time wore on I began to think of other things. Fans of Graceling and Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books will appreciate this one. All those comparisons aside, Shadow and Bone maintains a fresh and distinct new voice in the YA market. The world building is flawless and the depth that Bardugo imbues the story with makes everything resonate to the reader. The characters also stand out. Alina is a perfect heroine in that she is neither too perfect nor too flawed to be disbelieving… and her love interests are simply scrumptious. And then there’s Genya… and Baghra… and Zoya… I could go on but you get the point. The characters are great and this book is great. I had so much pleasure in reading this I did not want it to stop.

5 out of 5 stars… and a very impatient reviewer and new fan for Bardugo. This is going to be big.

– BP

* Shadow and Bone releases on June 5th, 2012. (That’s my birthday, woot!)

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