book review

Review: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

Leigh Bardugo - Shadow and Bone

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?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

I really like this book. It’s great. Although it didn’t get off to the best start, I got into it pretty quickly. And even though I wasn’t too keen on parts of the middle section of the book, there was plenty that I enjoyed. It was definitely worth the read!

Shadow and Bone tells the story of Alina, an orphan in Ravka who’s a cartographer in the army. She’s not particularly talented in that area, but her life isn’t too bad. Plus, her childhood best friend is always around when she needs somebody. However, her world changes when the army decide to cross the Fold and she discovers that she has a unique power that could save the whole of Ravka.

A lot happens in this book. It jumps straight into the action and plenty happens from the start. Similarly, the ending is just as tense and full of plot twists. I couldn’t put it down by the end because I had to know what was going to happen. However, the middle part wasn’t as interesting as the rest of the book because it focused a lot more on Alina being a part of the Grisha and it was basically about her being at boarding school. There were parts I did like during the middle section, just not as much of it.

The setting for the book was also great, although it took me a while to figure out exactly what the setting was. I’d heard that the book was partly based on Russian mythology/folklore and so I assumed it was set in Russia. As I started reading though, I got really confused about whether this was set in our world or a fantasy one – it turns out it was a fantasy setting. I did really like the setting though once I’d figured out what was going on with it.

This book has a love triangle in it, and at the centre of it is Alina. She’s a fun character who’s ready to fight when needed but also feels under pressure to do the right thing. She has a lot of conflicted feelings about doing things, and I really liked reading about that. I thought that she was a very realistic character, and I really like her interactions with other characters, such as Genya.

As I mentioned, there is a sort of love triangle in this book, and it’s between Alina, Mal and the Darkling. I was actually pretty conflicted about which guy I preferred because I really liked both characters for different reasons. Mal is a typical guy who can be really sweet and charming, and is also a bit of a ladies’ man, whereas the Darkling is this mysterious, handsome guy who can offer Alina an amazing future. Basically, they’re both great characters who are also very realistic and I liked both of them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Although there were parts of that I wasn’t so keen on, I’d definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy books.

“I don’t care if you danced naked on the roof of the Little Palace with him. I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.” 

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