Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha book #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1) Title: Shadow and Bone
                                                      Author: Leigh Bardugo
                                                      Pages: 358
                                                      Published: June 5th 2012, by Macmillian
                                                      Series: The Grisha book #1
                                                      Genre: YA, dystopian, fantasy
                                                      Stars: 4.5/5

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.

Okay, I would like to point out that I fan girled ALL THE WAY THROUGH MOST THIS BOOK! Eeikkeeeeeeeee! Talk about major book clenching!

Shadow and Bone was on my summer book haul (yes the summer that went by *sigh* and I hadn’t finished reading it until now butt my excuse is that there was just too many delicious books to read first). However, after reading this book, I could kick myself for not finishing reading it during that summer. IT WAS FREAKING AMAZABALLS!

Since the synopsis was pretty much similar to most YA books, I was prepared to be disappointed. HOWEVER, not only did it live up to its name, it left me bewildered of Leigh Bardugo's incredibly writing skills. This book is brilliant because of her creative outlet. Props to Leigh, here here!  

Bardugo weaves a compelling tale, with a cast of fascinating characters and places them in a completely harsh world.  Plus, it has the DARKLING! Wohoo this sexy villain is already making me sweat!

What makes this book food for the eyes is the enticing world that Alina lives in. Ravka is full of rich culture and history that is so bleak but brilliant for a dystopian fantasy world. Ravka’s culture is based on traditional Russian culture and Leigh captured this with her awesome descriptive skills. This in fact was one of the key components that made it very different from any other dystopian novels.

Alina Starkov is perhaps not your typical heroine. She is very insecure about herself, her strength, her capabilities and her appearance. She has been sickly and plain looking all her life and is incredibly sensitive to the appearance of others, especially since beauty is a key component in this book and everyone who is ridiculously strong is also ridiculously stunning. Nevertheless, when she realises what her power could do for the people of Ravka and beyond, she grows out of her insecurity and grows into the girl that she was supposed to be all this time. Here we see that she becomes more confident, more relaxed and happier. It was a joy for me to see how much she changed from the first couple of chapters.

One of her love interest, Mal, had been her lifelong childhood friend, a fellow orphan like herself and someone who she’s loved all this time. At first I didn’t really like Mal. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with him, just a typical guy best friend which every girl has had, who you’ve been forever in love with but who won’t see you anything other than a friend.......right? But there was nothing special about him. Yeah sure he was a bit of a ladies’ man, what with his incredibly good looks and his boyish charm......which was something that always made Alina jealous, but that was it. However, to be honest, I can’t complain since we weren’t told a lot about him anyway. Nevertheless, when he did make a bigger appearance during the later chapters, I couldn’t help but fall slightly in love with him. Arghhh, I was rooting for the Darkling all this time, but when Mal appeared, I had to stop and rethink! Both him and Alina share so much history (well of course, since they were brought up together) and when he realised that Alina’s always been the girl for him (after seeing how happy she was with the Darkling......JEALOUS MOMENT THERE) and confessing his love for her and how blind he was all this time, I had to reconsider. Maybe Mal and Alina should get together? Arghhh, I HATE having conflicting emotions when it comes to choosing guys and I never normally go for the boring good one. Buttttt, in this case, there was just something intriguing about Mal as a character.

BUT BACK TO THE DARKLING!  As I already said, I always go for the bad boy/villain, just like Warner in ‘Shatter Me’, does that make me a crazy? To be honest this book reminded me soooo much of Shatter Me especially with the Darkling who was veryyyy similar to Warner (but this book was written in a better way than Shatter Me).  Anyway, there was something deliciously evil about the Darkling.  You know what? Falling in love for a villain is the way forward and I don’t care what anyone says....even though in actual real life, this would totally have the opposite effect. At first, I thought he was just really misunderstood by the whole population in Ravka and he actually wanted to do well by everyone. Hey, it wasn’t his fault that they considered him evil. But then he does the most horrific thing and we find out what his real motive was all along.....I’m so confused but I still like him a lot....arghh. Help!

The Darkling (ha funny name, but yes that is his real name) and Alina’s relationship is one of lust, passion and full on sexual tension....eeikkee. So much more interesting than her relationship with Mal. Why is it that the villain always brings out a book clenching romance with the main girl but the boy (that the girl is destined to be with and to be honest, can be frankly quite dull) brings no fiery passion whatsoever?   Whatever, despite the Darkling’s true intensions, I still think there’s more to him anddddd he really does like Alina, as it showed on numerous occasions when he got jealous every time Mal’s name was mentioned. 

Beyond the characters, I found myself easily entertained and immersed in Shadow and Bone. The idea of these different magical people and the different divisions in court is brilliant. The conflict at the heart of the book focuses on Alina’s gifts and her ability to one day bring peace to a sundered land, to restore the inevitable deaths that occur once you’re in the Fold and to bring harmony and light back to a blighted country. Of course, nothing is ever that simple.

One thing that stops me giving it a 5/5 stars however, is that in some parts of the book, the pace seemed to slow down and irrelevant aspects to the story seemed to be just written for the sake of it.

Having said that, I can’t wait for the second book!

Notable quotes/passages:
“Then the memory of the Darkling's kiss blew through me and rattled my concentration, scattering my thoughts like leaves and making my heart swoop and dive like a bird borne aloft by uncertain currents.” 

“Did you miss me, Alina? Did you miss me when you were gone?"
"Every day," I said hoarsely.
"I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I'd catch myself walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I'd seen something I wanted to tell you about, or because I just wanted to hear your voice. And then I'd realize that you weren't there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I've risked my life for you. I've walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I'd do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don't tell me we don't belong together," he said fiercely. He was very close now, and my heart was suddenly hammering in my chest. "I'm sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.” 

Book Trailer:


  1. I love how you mentioned Warner from Shatter Me because that was EXACTLY what I was thinking when I was reading the book! And don't worry, I'm completely Team Darkling too! :)

    1. He was the first person that came into mind :)


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