Friday, July 12, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I really liked this book. The characters are solid. The plot is strong. The backstories are deep. The world is large. And the aspect of mystery intrigues me. While it didn't have the same pull as other books, I still enjoyed it immensely. Shadow and Bone is a book I've seen around for a while. Whenever there's a collection of YA books, it's amongst them. It's never seemed like my kinda book, but I gave in and read, if only to say that I had. I picked up the book from the library and started reading as soon as I could. I was immediately drawn into the story and had a long drive ahead of me. I plowed through the book and finished by the time I arrived. It's an amazing I high fantasy novel that I highly recommend.

The main character is Alina Starkov. Along with having amazing talents, she's simply a strong character. Physically, she's very weak, at least in the beginning. As Alina's power develops, so does she. Over the course of the book, she learns what she is willing to fight for. She earns true friends that, even when they later come into question, it is no question to the reader who they're loyal to. She learns that everything is not as it seems. A person may act one way, and think another. A friend may be an enemy and and enemy may be a friend. Alina trusts easily, which is a good trait, but may very well be her downfall. Though she feels weak at points, overall, Alina Starkov is deep, complex, and interesting character I can't wait to get to know better.

Shadow and Bone is a cross between Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Imperial Russia. There is no doubt that it's high fantasy, in a world that belongs to the author completely. While reading the book, almost immediately noticed the similarities between names, the language, as well as the government system to that of pre-WWI Russia. Hopefully, the country of Ravka won't follow the same path. The plot is a high-stakes chase full of action, romance, and intrigue. Readers won't be able to put the book down. While it's not my favorite book of 2013, it definitely makes the list. I give the book 4.5 stars.

Author Bio:
Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. Occasionally, she can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children’s/ Macmillan), is a New York Times Best Seller and the first book in the Grisha Trilogy. Book 2, Siege and Storm, will be published in 2013. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf.

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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.

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt/Macmillan
Release: June 5, 2012
Series: Grisha
Pages: 368

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