Published: June 7, 2012
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
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 fulfil 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. - Summary from Goodreads
Most people will know this book as Shadow and Bone. I know this book as one freaking fantastic fantasy novel. Alina's story and the world of Ravka have been playing in my mind ever since I put down the book. If you want a creative fantasy world with top-notch story telling, look no further than this author's debut novel.
The idea of the Grisha themselves kept me glued to the pages. Magic wielding soldiers with their own orders and rankings with the power to summon elements like wind, the power to heal or hurt human beings, or the power to make weapons and mystical technology. Each order has their place in the world and the world is really captivating. Ravka is a cold and dismal place, but you can't help thinking of the hope the people could have. The architecture and setting described is (not surprisingly) Russian inspired, but I thought Leigh Bardugo was masterful at setting the scene. The movie based on this book is in serious talks with DreamWorks and producer David Heyman. From reading the book, I strongly feel as though it will be an extremely visually driven movie, as the book is quite setting focused. Win, win all around!
The characters in this book so very likeable! Alina as a personality really isn't anything special and for some strange reason, I like that. Sometimes it's hard to root for a kick-ass heroine who seems like she doesn't need any help. Alina is the underdog at first, but definitely one that quickly learns how to bite back. Mal, Alina's childhood friend is her anchor. He is her past, present, and a possible future for her until Alina gets caught up in the Grisha web. I think the real winner of a character is The Darkling. He is just so serious, demanding, and mysterious! He is the most powerful man in the whole land, so much power that it has extended his life, making it impossible to know his age.
Overall, this is an extremely exciting book! It's perfect for those who love epic fantasy, as well as those who like a magic-centred world. It is simply gorgeously written and quite possibly my favorite book of 2012 (yet). I can't possibly wait for the next book set to be published in June of next year.
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