Book Review: Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardvgo

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Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardvgo
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.

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (June 5, 2012)

Praise:
Danger and duplicity abound (is the Darkling good or evil?) in this lavish portrayal of a country reminiscent of Imperial Russia.”–VOYA
“Set in a fascinating, unique world rich with detail, Shadow and Bone was unlike anything I’ve ever read.”  —Veronica Roth, New York Times bestselling author of Divergent
“Fast-paced and unpredictable, this debut novel will be a hit with readers who love dark fantasy.”–School Library Journal, starred
“Mesmerizing…Bardugo’s set up is shiver-inducing, of the delicious variety. This is what fantasy is for.”–New York Times
“A rich fantasy landscape, an inspired magical structure, and a gratifying emotional hook keep the pages whirring by until a final twist upends assumptions and lands us smack in the middle of a harrowing climax. “–Horn Book Magazine
“Filled with lush descriptions, intriguing magic, and plenty of twists, this memorable adventure offers action and intrigue mixed with an undercurrent of romance and danger.”–Publishers Weekly
“The plotting is powerful…”–Kirkus
“Bardugo weaves a captivating spell with lushly descriptive writing, engaging characters, and an exotic, vivid world. Readers will wait impatiently for the next installment.”—Booklist

About the Author:

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she hides out in Hollywood and indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson.

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children’s/Macmillan) is now a New York Times Best Seller.

She would be delighted if you followed her on Twitter, elated if you visited her web site, and downright giddy if you liked Shadow & Bone on Facebook.

My Thoughts:
I haven’t read something this addictive for a long time. At first I thought it might fall into the same generic trap that most YA books do, but I was soon surprised. It was nothing like any other book I’ve read. I loved the characters and felt like the author had captured them well. They came alive for me.

I really liked the way Alina is not your typical YA heroine. She finds her strength as the story progresses, but never loses sight of who she really is. I was happy with the way the love triangle played out (which is a first, I think), and I like how Alina understands what real love is. Not lust, but love.

There is a fair bit of kissing, and one scene gets a little heated but they are interrupted before things go too far.

I don’t know if I can really wait for the next installment to come out.  I’ve seen the cover, and I’m dying to get my hands on the book!

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