By: Leigh Bardugo
Review by: Kaede
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Series: The Grisha (#1)
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.
"The problem with wanting," he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, "is that it makes us weak."
HOLY. That ending. That ending.
Oh I swear Leigh Bardugo has a cruel, cruel heart underneath where no one can see. It is only shown through her Grisha talent to write. You just simply cannot end a book like that. I think I might lock myself in a room when this review is over and just cry, "ANDDDDDD? WHAT COMES NEXT? MOMMMM, WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MISSING LAST CHAPTER?"
Just so you know.
On to the review we go.
Alina Starkov, orphaned by the Border Wars since young, has never expected much from life. Able to count only on her best friend Mal - in which even that is debatable - Alina has no one else to turn to in times of fear. So when Alina and Mal, along with many other soliders from the First and Second Army, are sent to take part in the dangerous mission of crossing the Shadow Fold, Alina is scared. Scared for her life. For many who cross into the swath of darkness where monster crawl and feast on human flesh do not return. Alina can't shake off the dreadful feeling that something bad will happen...and something does.
When their convoy is attack in the midst of crossing the Fold, all seems lost. Until Alina releases a dormant power she herself knew not existed, consequently announcing herself as a Sun Summoner. Sun Summoners are rare, and to this day, not one has been seen before Alina. And so Alina is brought to the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha known to man, a figure as feared as he is revered. That is precisely where this story takes off as Shadow and Bone spins a haunting tale of discovering hidden power within oneself - and how one may choses to use it.
I'll be the first to admit that Alina wasn't always my favorite character. She could - and would - come across as one of two ways. Strong-willed or just plain stubborn. Through the middle of the book, my perception of her was the latter. She had all her priorities wrong, and was nothing if not
hypocritical. She'd say she wanted nothing to do with Grisha, and then go off and wonder if she was pretty enough. And if she hadn't been so set on the
In all honesty, I'll admit that I love the Darkling. But you know...he is all scary and evil and stuff, and he crept the hell out of me in the last part of the book. I have to say I'm rooting for the cocky best friend Mal. He's awesome with a capital A. Yes indeed. But it could go either way and I'd be fine...ish.
Shadow and Bone is definitely worth the read, despite my not being the biggest fan of the majority of the middle part. The ending was able to throw any doubts of uncertainty I had out the window. However, after reading this book, you will most likely feel something along the lines of:
Okay, I get that he's beautiful, and she's beautiful, and that's beautiful, and the thing over there is beautiful, and it's beautiful. So STOP REMINDING ME THAT EVERY FREAKIN' THING IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL.
With Shadow and Bone, the word beautiful will take on a whole new - and overused - meaning. But that one tiny little problem can't even begin to nearly overshadow all the good in this novel.
Overall, I just have one last thing to add.
YOU. YES, YOU. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK NOW.
5 coffee cups!
Review also found at: Goodreads