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  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Review: Titans by Victoria Scott
  • Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible.
No other words can describe this book.


Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary:

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?

Alina and Mal are orphans, taken under a war hero's wing until it's finally time to test them for their abilities. They thought they had none, so when they enlisted as soldiers for the Royal army, Alina became a cartographer and Mal became a tracker. A good one. He became the opposite of Alina and he wasn't someone who could possibly notice how his best friend was harboring a secret love for him. Where Alina's laid back, quiet and plain, Mal was popular, eye catching and the best at what he does. But when Mal's life was put on the line, the one person he wasn't expecting to save him did, and it was Alina. For Alina is special, rare, a Sun Summoner and her ability just might be the one they need to save their dying land, Ravka, the one being defended by the elite Grisha, with the help of the Darkling.

Alina came off as this sad, sad girl who has been pining for her best friend for years. It's easy to identify with her because of it, a lonely, gloomy and quiet girl. She's this seemingly plain, simple character who doesn't have anything remarkable to show for even when she discovered she has this rare ability to conjure light. I did question at one point why Alina's character was so weak and yet she had such power. But what's good about it is that as you read more of her, Alina gradually transforms into a different person with all the trials and things she experiences once she was inside the Little Palace's walls. She learns and perseveres. To see her struggle, doubt and then try to become a better, stronger person was enough for me to take a gradual liking to her.

Mal had his own faults as a character, and I loved how he comes off as a less than perfect potential romantic interest for Alina. He might be good at what he does, attractive and strong, but for Alina he's this unworthy person but always there when needed. I liked him, not because he's the complete opposite of the Darkling but because he's this someone who's just genuinely good. He's like a breath of fresh air after you read of all these cunning people residing inside the palace walls.

From the moment I have read of the very first few sentences describing the Darkling, I knew I was going to just love him. There is something about a character designed to be feared right from the start that just mesmerizes me when I continue reading and finding that there's many more layers to go through to understand his character better. The Darkling was this bewitching dark force to be reckoned with, powerful and destructive and yet you see him in a lot of moments that shows just how fearful and vulnerable he can be. That although he can cut a person in half, he has this times when he displays emotions you wouldn't think he'd ever feel. I'd love to know what was going on in his mind. That maybe he did all the things he had done because of something, for a far more greater cause. The motivations he has for what he wanted to achieve really made me stop and think of how complicated a character he can be. Was he evil? Was he pretending to be evil to come off as a good person at the end? Was he originally evil and was gradually becoming something else, something more because of Alina? He's a character that inspires fear and awe and I have never quite encounter the likes of him in a book before.

Shadow and Bone just plunges you into this complex, unique world crafted by a highly imaginative mind. With such a rich, detailed setting, you know just how much effort is placed in the creation of this novel. One moment I was occupied imagining life in Ravka and the next moment I am fully immersed in the life inside the court, its inner workings, of being a Grisha and the ups and downs of being one. And if that isn't enough I get to see these different characters plunged into a battle between good and evil, of a country's survival and the forces that wants to destroy it, one man's ambition and his struggle for power. Alina's story is definitely something to look closely at, because it's not just about possessing a power that can tip the scales between destroying her home or reclaiming it or even her complicated feelings for both the Darkling and Mal, but its her search for her place in this war torn world and the role she has to fulfill that makes this story so attractive.

Highly thrilling, definitely. Shadow and Bone is the kind of read that will leave you breathless in anticipation for what happens next and yet make you yearn for more. It's got a little bit of everything necessary to get you hooked: tender, romantic scenes, heart stopping action, an intricate web of lies and betrayal, love. Swoon for the Darkling, question his very being and even what goes on in his mind, hope for Alina and Mal and think of the role they will play in Ravka's future. Will they be the ones to save it or destroy it completely? I just love a book that makes me want to keep on guessing while feeling all sorts of emotions brought about by such a vast set of characters.

If you want to know what the hype is all about in this series then I suggest you grab a copy now and see for yourself. It's definitely one of the best novels I've ever read and is easily one of my favorites! I have nothing but praises for this book. I think I've just been acquainted with Leigh Bardugo's brilliant writing and general awesomeness.

My rating:

Content (plot, story flow, character):
The world is yours for the taking, dearest Darkling. I'd like to know his name. I'd like to peel off those deceptive layers of his character and see just what he really is deep inside. Evil? Good? What made him that way?

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
Love, love, love.

7 comments:

  1. Great review!!You perfectly described everything I love about this book!! I'm reading Seige and Storm this weekend and I can't wait!!

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  2. All I can say is . . . I LOVE THIS BOOK. I definitely agree with everything you said because this book was just . . . argh. Can't explain it. So I can't wait to read the sequel now. Great review!

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  3. Oh my.... 5/5! I need to read this book quick haha. A must buy for me. Thanks for the review, Kai.
    I love books with phenomenal world-building.

    -Dannielle

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  4. I was neutral on this book after first read but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it (especially the scenes with other grisha and their powers and Mal's confession of love.)

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  5. I thought this was a gorgeous book-the world was amazing. I have yet to get a copy of the sequel. Great to see you enjoyed this-here's hoping Siege and Storm is just as good!

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  6. I really enjoyed this book as well and so glad you did too! I was a huge fan of the world-building as well. It was brilliant and I thought one of the best settings that I've read in awhile. (I love maps in books too!) I can't wait for the next book! Great review Kai!

    Zaira Lynn (Sell Gold)

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  7. I just finished reading this trilogy last month because I never even knew this existed before! But I am so glad that I've encountered this series despite the Philippines' always being late when it comes to having new books in stores. That's basically my life struggle, but what's good is that it saves me from having to wait for years for the trilogy to be complete. When I discovered Shadow and Bone, the third book was just released and I'm so thrilled to not have to do the usual waiting in between installments. LOVED THIS SERIES and LOVED YOUR REVIEW. Mabuhay!

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