Friday, December 12, 2014

REVIEW: SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo




Title: Shadow and Bone
Series: The Grisha, #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 4/5

SUMMARY

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.




REVIEW

I’ve had this book on my to-read list for a very long time. I’ve only heard good things about it through the many book blogs I follow, and I was more than eager to read it. For some reason I kept putting it off, because I figured I had to be in the right frame of mind for it seeing as it is a fantasy read. Then recently, I saw a top ten list featuring the Darkling as a “favorite villain”. This got me curious. I wanted to know what this Darkling is all about. If there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s charismatic villains.

So two things happened. I didn’t love this book as much as I had hoped I would, or rather, as much as the hype made me believe I would. I did, however, find the Darkling all kinds of appealing and revolting. He turned out to be a character I simultaneously loved and hated. Very confusing, I know. But don’t you just luuuuve characters that draw you in and pushes you away again; leaving you with that feeling of wanting to delve deeper and discover more about them, even though you feel appalled by everything they stand for? Maybe it’s just me, but I have a weakness for complex villains.

The one thing that brought my rating down from five stars to four is the dreaded love-triangle. Hated it. I was fully on-board with Alina and the Darkling, but not so much with her and Mal. Alina also is a character I had a hard time warming up to. Sometimes I liked her, but many times I didn’t because often she was sulky, helpless, angry and/or lashing out at someone. The only two characters who really made an impression on me were the Darkling and Genya.

If it wasn’t for the splendid world building and the stunning originality of the plot, I probably would’ve rated Shadow and Bone three stars. But it wouldn’t be fair. I absolutely adored the eeriness and horror of the Shadow Fold. Now there’s a place I’d never want to find myself alone.  Honestly, this book is worth reading just to experience the terror invoked by the volcra. Also, the Grisha, with all their different powers, really makes this a terrific read. A lot of imagination went into this story and apart from my aforementioned irks, I finished this book in no time since I completely lost myself in its pages once I got started.

Even though I wouldn’t be recommending Shadow and Bone as highly as other fantasy novels as say, The Winner’s Curse, by Marie Rutkoski, or The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen, it still makes my list of must-read fantasy novels purely for its incredible distinctiveness, breathtaking setting, and the magical Grisha.







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ABOUT the AUTHOR


Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as a makeup artist in Hollywood, and she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

  
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1 comment:

Ina M. said...

Just wanted to say your feelings about Shadow and Bone are exactly the same as mine! Yay! I thought I was a lone minority of one in the fact that I didn't love it as much as everyone else. And gosh, I can't stand Mal!