From Goodreads: 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.
My Rating: 4.5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: After reading all the positive reviews for Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, I was a little hesitant to start it because I didn’t want to risk being disappointed by it. I can safely say after reading Shadow and Bone though that it was totally worth the hype (even if the plot was a tiny bit predictable)!
Bardugo’s writing sucked me in right from the start and kept me hooked until the end. I loved the way she was able to create such a detailed world that was unveiled slowly, allowing me time to understand all the terms used. I may not want to live in the fictional world of Ravka with its volcras and terrifying Shadow Fold that expands over time, but I was definitely enchanted with it.
I also thought the character of Alina was very well-developed. She really did seem like an ordinary girl who realized she happened to be extraordinary – which is why I could relate to her insecurities and feeling out of place at the Little Palace. It was even nicer that rather than becoming a pro right away after some Grisha training, it took Alina time to master her gift.
As well, I liked that Alina stayed true to her heart. Too often, I read books where the main character is torn between two guys and can’t make up her mind as to who to choose, thereby appearing wishy-washy. (Seriously, how often does this happen in real life?) Alina, however, continues to love her best friend, Mal (who I’m looking forward to seeing more of in the sequel), despite being tempted by the Darkling. This suited me just fine because not only did I find the romance between Mal and Alina sweet, but it left hope for me and the Darkling :) (Okay, so maybe he’s evil with a capital E, but I can pretend that he’ll redeem himself with me at his side ;) As you can see, I’ve been reading a little too much paranormal lately.)
The start of another fabulous fantasy series, Shadow and Bone was released by Henry Holt and Co. in June 2012.
Comments About the Cover: The cover suggests that the story will be a fantasy full of intrigue. I love its simplicity and the colours used since I think it captures the tone of the novel perfectly!
In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group) for free via NetGalley.