Blurb: 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.
Thoughts: What a book! Shadow and Bone immediately throws you into this complex yet interesting world, and while it does take time to understand the world, the read is worth it. The novel has complex characters such as the Darkling and it’s set in this divided nation which is separated by this terrible creation.
Alina was an interesting protagonist, she wasn’t very confident of herself and felt dependent on Mal, but we get to see her grow into this fighter that doesn’t need support from others and isn’t afraid to let her powers shine. While it is quite common for the poor, weak girl to have the amazing power that can save the world, I still found Alina’s power of being the sun-summoner quite fascinating to read. I loved seeing her try to adjust to the life of being Grisha and found it funny how her and the Darkling’s powers are opposite, which hints she’s going to be the light in the dark.
I found the plot and pace of the story to be a bit lack-luster in the first 100-150 pages of the novel, but once Alina began to grab hold of her power I got drawn into the story and flew through the rest. The plot was predictable at times, however the characters added some interesting twists. While reading, I kept trying to find out if the Darkling actually does like (or love?) Alina or if he was just using her to expand the Shadow Fold. I’m still unsure on that matter and it should be fun to watch their relationship develop when she’s on the run with Mal.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the first novel in this trilogy and I’m excited to continue on with it. Bardugo set up an impressive world that has loads of promise for development, for both the world and the characters. Alina and Mal are quite likable characters and their story has a promising continuation. If you’re in the mood for a relatively quick high-fantasy read, Shadow and Bone would be a great pick.
PS. I apologize if this not the best review, I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things and I promise things should get better soon! Thanks for understanding.