Date of Publication: June 5 2012
Source: Won in giveaway! :)
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?
For the longest time, I felt like I was missing out. I don't get to read all the popular books when they come out, but I like to read a lot of the hyped ones. I kept hearing good stuff about Shadow and Bone and then I got really lucky and won a copy of it from my library. There were quotes from Veronica Roth and Rick Riordan everywhere and at that point I was as good as sold. I mean, two of my favourite authors like this book? It must be good! Alas, it was not what I was expecting in some ways, but there is an undeniable thrill to reading Shadow and Bone.
What I wasn't expecting was how slow a lot of the story was. The setting wasn't completely new to begin with and it took a while for the twists to happen. This means that I felt the book was formulaic until the end where it distinguished itself pretty strongly. The beginning was great, the middle was weaker, and the ending was great too.
Technically, I should have been annoyed during the middle. I mean, ordinary girl becomes special and starts to live like a princess? That's very typical of YA. I wasn't bored though. I knew there was something more to the story. There's this delicious undercurrent all throughout of something darker and more dangerous and I enjoyed the suspense and mystery as the story tried to lull me into a false sense of security. Actually, Leigh Bardugo did which is impressive considering I was on guard all throughout Shadow and Bone.
The characters all intrigued me and I liked them. Alina is a very human character and I felt like I would have reacted to a lot of what happened similarly. I want to write more about the other characters, but I can't in specific terms because I'll inevitably spoil something. That being said, I think the most interesting character is the Darkling. It's hard to get a grasp on his personality and there are so many layers of him that I would like to explore. All the characters were useful and none of them annoyed me in any way.
The world was extremely cool. I know nothing at all about Russia, but I thought it was cool that this fantasy world has Russian undertones. I loved learning about the Grisha and the Unsea. As always, I'd love to learn more but I feel like what I got in Shadow and Bone was sufficient for this book.
This is the part of my review where it becomes hard to explain myself. Have you ever read a chapter of a book and immediately knew it was your style of book? It was weird, but I read the prologue and I was hooked. The writing, the style, the story... I was fascinated, and it addicted me. I couldn't stop flipping pages and near the end I needed to read so badly and I spent lunch and class time reading. The story was so compelling and that addictive quality is rare but it's part of the reason I love to read.
Although Shadow and Bone is a very strong set up book, it has a very good ending that I'm dying to read. In fact, I may or may not have rushed this review so I could move on to Siege and Storm! I have extremely high hopes for this series and it should be fun!