Monday, January 9, 2017

Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Format: Paperback

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.

It's hard to explain how much I love this book.  Shadow and Bone is like every fantastic magical novel rolled into one and packaged in a fabulous book that I COULDN'T PUT DOWN!

A lot of people were hating on this book, or weren't really feeling it, and I really just don't understand.  I loved it.

 Let's start with the plot.  Alina and Mal, two kids who grew up in an orphanage, were tested when they were young to see if they held any grisha power.  Apparently, they didn't, and they were sent to be in the military.  When Aline is older, it is discovered that she does, in fact, have Grisha powers and is known as the sun summoner.  Anyway, this discover leads Alina down a road that is full of love, lust, and some pretty creepy discoveries - especially about the Darkling.  I won't give away TOO much, but let's jut say that I was rooting for Alina from beginning to end.  I loved the whole story.  I thought the plot was great, well planned out, and held together well.

The characters were, in a word, amazing.  Each character had their own personalities, and they all worked together so well.  There was tension between characters in the right places, and easy conversations between characters as they go to know each other.  I think Mal and Alina also had a lot of personal growth throughout the novel, and the ability to adapt as necessary. They had moments of anger and rage with each other, and then also the ability to forgive and love each other anyway, even when they were mad with each other.

I loved the back and forth between Alina and the Darkling - the attraction to each other, and also Alina's hesitance towards him because he is the Darkling.  It was interesting to see her reaction and growth upon learning that the Darkling is in fact the Black Heretic.

I loved watching the changes between Mal and Alina, and their willingness to forgive and love each other anyway, even when they thought they couldn't or didn't really want to.  I think their relationship was a testament to what friends can be when things are not good (and the Darkling wants to claim you!)

Overall, my reaction to this book can be summed up as follows:

 5 stars all the way.  Read it!  Now! 

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