Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: five stars
Genre: YA, fantasy
Goodreads Summary: 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.
I have heard so much about this series (and the Six of Crows duology) for so long, I can’t believe I am just picking it up now. One of the reasons why is that I found the box set on sale for pretty cheap, and so of course I bought it. Also, with the show coming out soon, I figured I should read it! All I have heard about the book is concerning The Darkling. So many people are in love with the Darkling and that certainly made me intrigued. One of my friends personally doesn’t see what the hype is about him, and I am very interested in seeing what my thoughts are after reading the series so we can talk about it! Unfortunately, I believe I have heard some spoilers and that has been making the whole reading process not as exciting because I think I know what is coming.
Likes: I really enjoyed the magic system and how Leigh describes the use of it. How someone grasps at their magic is such a personal and obscure thing to think about, but because of Leigh’s descriptions, I can picture it vividly which makes the story lifelike. The magic itself is also interesting. The different groupings of magic users, and what each of them can do was fun to learn about. Leigh can make characters so lovable and then make you hate them in the next sentence, and vice versa. It is kind of frustrating but at the same time I love it. The fact that she has the ability to do this is truly unique and makes this story full of twists and turns.
Dislikes: So, the Darkling is supposed to be this all-powerful figure. Everyone is terrified of him and he is basically the boogie man. However, when the main character meets him, she doesn’t act like she is scared of him at all! If I suddenly met someone who I (and everyone else) was terrified of, I most definitely would not be joking and flirting with him! That just seemed a little unrealistic. Another negative was that it was predictable. Most of this is because I had already heard huuuge spoilers (which I will not say here). I could guess some of the things that were going to happen on my own, but the spoiler that I heard gave a ton of it away which made the book frustrating to read. So most of it is not Leigh’s fault at all, however, other parts that were not spoiled for me were still predictable.
Overall, I gave this book five out of five stars. I had such a fun time reading this – minus the spoilers that ruined some of it. It was lighthearted at parts and dark at others. The contrasting elements really drew me in, and the magic and characters added to that. I am not going to take off a point for the interactions between the Darkling and Alina, simply because I thought it was cute and fun. Was it unrealistic? Yes. However, I still enjoyed it. I am also not going to take off points for it being predictable because a lot of it was because of the spoiler, and the other parts weren’t that big of a deal. I would definitely recommend this book and I can’t wait to read the rest!