Shadow and Bone
By Leigh Bardugo
Published on June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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.
Alina Starkov is sent away after saving her best friend (secret crush), Mal from dying. She is the special Sun Summoner that will help save her kingdom from the evil monsters with wings. Now Alina has to start a new life as a powerful Grisha that she has absolutely no way of knowing how to control. Along the way, she learns how to grow as a person, forget her past, and begins a dangerous but oh so seductive relationship with the Darkling. Not everything is as it seems in the Grisha world, and Alina comes to a heart breaking conclusion on what she has to do.
There was plenty of action in this book, starting right from the beginning with the horrific monsters. Lots of fighting scenes too through out the book! The middle part slows down a little, but it in no way stops the story from getting dull. There isn't that much romance in this book. Though the chemistry between Alina and The Darkling is undeniably steamy! He is sooo hot and mysterious...why does he have to be bad?!?! I felt they had more of a connection than Alina did with Mal. He's a charming guy too in his own way, but I felt they had more of a puppy love connection. Maybe that will change for me in book two, and also maybe the Darkling will become good?! After all, it looks like he has small soft spot for Alina, no? Wishful thinking I know.
Overall, it was a spectacular start to the series. I was engrossed with the book from the beginning, to the nerve wracking ending! Alina was a strong, sarcastic, and independent character. She never let anyone get to her (especially the snotty little witch), and she always followed her own heart whether she liked it or not. I also enjoyed the new friendship Alina made with Genya. I just hope they don't become enemies.
This was an awesome book that I highly recommend. It's different from other YA books out there too! I can't wait to read the sequel, Siege and Storm, to see if my feelings change between Alina and Mal. What did you think of the book? Did you like it too? Share your thoughts!