Thursday, March 21, 2013 23:10

Review 141. Leigh Bardugo – Shadow and bone.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Title: Shadow and bone.
Author: Leigh Bardugo.
Pages: 358.
Published: June 5th 2012.
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Sort: Part one of ‘The Grisha’
Source: Won in a giveaway.
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.
Rating:

First impression: WOW. Why did I wait so long? From the first chapter I was hooked to this exciting story. This book also features one of my favorite things: a map! If you haven’t read this book, please, do yourself a favour and get a copy! Because this is AMAZING.


This wonderful story starts with two orphans, Alina and Mal. They grew up together and they are now in the same army. Alina is a mapmaker, Mal is a gifted tracker. They are sent to cross the Shadow Fold, an impenetrable darkness that cleaves the country Ravka in two parts. When they are attacked by the Volcra, terrible flying creatures and Mal is heavily injured, Alina discovers her power and saves their lives. Nothing will ever be the same. Alina is whisked away to the royal court as a new member of the Grisha. That is a group of magical people led by the Darkling. Alina is trained in different aspects of her new life, like controlling her power and learning more about the Grisha. She is unique and the key role in setting the country free.

Alina is forced to flee away from court after someone reveals a dangerous secret and that is how she runs into Mal. Together, they must find an important animal. His antlers will function as an amplifier (to increase her power) and it’s the only way she can resist the hold of the Darkling.

This book has a magnificent world-building and an unique concept. The world is ruled by the King and Queen, but the Darkling has the most power with his army of Grisha’s. There are different types of power and they all wear their own color kefta’s and titles. This is my only “complaint” about this book; the new terms and words with Russian influences definitely added something to the sphere of the book, but they were sometimes hard to define. I would have appreciated a list with words, because it’s easy to get lost. But, Bardugo did a great job on explaining everything and after a while, everything made sense.

The plot was very exciting. Alina is going to play an important role in the survival of their world. The twist in the middle of the book was great and I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to find out about the real intention of the Darkling and how Alina was going to deal with it.

Alina is a great character. She is lost when she first uses her power and I loved her development. She is starting to understand her power and she finally finds a place in the world. She has quite some spunk. Everybody is afraid for the Darkling, but she doesn’t hesitate to stand up for herself. Alina is incredibly strong and I appreciated the fact that she never indulges in whining. She definitely had enough reasons to, because she is separated from the person that makes her feel like she belongs somewhere: Mal. I liked him. They were so cute together and you can see that they have a special bond.
He is more on the background, but he is so loyal to Alina. He is willing to sacrifice everything for her. 

That brings me to the mysterious Darkling, one of my favorite characters from this book. I love complex characters and my oh my, doesn’t he sound like one hot guy (despite the fact that he is very old). I never knew what was going on in his mind and he was very unpredictable. One moment, he shows his soft human side to Alina, the other moment he chops a guy in half without blinking.

The ending had no cliff-hanger. Yeay for books with normal endings, that still manage to make you excited for the next one! For me, that is a true gift for writing. Most things are neatly wrapped-up, but there is enough space for the next book.  I can’t wait to read Siege and Storm!

“What are you smiling at?”
….
"Well?” He asked, looking up at me.
"Myself,” I admitted.
"Are you that funny?”
"I’m hilarious.”


author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

66 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm so happy you liked this! I loved Shadow and Bone and cannot wait for Siege and Storm! I am also a Darkling fan and love maps. Great review! :D

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    1. Maps always add something extra to the story, don't they :D

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  2. HORRAY for Darkling love! He was so amazing and complex and evil. Just like you, I liked Alina's whiny-free personality; she was strong but not stupid. And Mal was dreamy <3. I really wish there will be more Mal in Siege and Storm.

    And the quote you chose always makes me smile for some reason!

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    1. Ohhhh, I also hope we get to see more of Mal! I want to get to know him better. Alina was just great and Darkling <3

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  3. WHOOOOP! LOVE this book, so glad you loved it too. The author is so nice too :) The Darkling is like the perfect YA villain. "(despite the fact that he is very old)." Shush, no one needs such reminders ;) I agree with what you said about him being two sided, I think that is what makes him so amazing! You have to wonder if that soft side is real, though! I also thought Alina showed great development, it was one of the few cases where I didn't mind the MC being all "I'm the only one of my kind so I'm special." I think this one deserves a re-read before S&S. Great review!

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    1. Haha, you are right. I won't mention his age anymore :p I still can't say for sure that his soft side is real, so I hope we get more answers about him :D And yeah, I agree, sometimes the whole "only one" can annoy me, but it didn't bother me at all.

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  4. Haha I love it when books have maps as well! I'm glad you really liked this one, I enjoyed it too :)

    Miss J @ Miss Book Reviews

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  5. Okay, I'm really excited to read this and meet the Darkling. So glad you enjoyed it! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I loved it too and can't wait for the next one! I've already been jealous of a few bloggers that got ARC's. :) So true about the Darkling! I was just thinking. . . . He doesn't even have a name, does he? I'm sure he actually does have one, but he has been the Darkling for so long that no one ever uses it.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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    1. I'm a bit envious too :p I need Siege and Storm <3 And they didn't mention his name. Perhaps we get to find out about it in part two?

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  7. AHHHHH! So glad you loved this, Mel! I loved Mal (you two have almost the same name :D), too, but a piece of my heart belongs with the Darkling as well. :) I was also really satisfied with the ending; Leigh Bardugo is sort of like JK Rowling: they're both able to craft tales that leave you wanting more without using a cliffhanger!

    Great review, Mel. :)

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    1. Exactly! This book gave me the same experience as HP: I couldn't put it down and I became friends with these characters. I can see myself re-reading this book soon.

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  8. YAYYY! I am so glad you loved it too! It is fabulous and I just read the sequel..O.O it was AWESOME!

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  9. It sounds nice and your review makes it interesting... unfortunately this is just not my type of genre :-(

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    1. That is also possible :D It's a shame that you are missing out on the great world-building and characters though, but if it's not your genre, you should stay way from it :)

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  10. No cliffhanger ending and a character called Darkling?!Shadow and Bone wasn't even on my radar, but wow, this could be a book I might really enjoy :)
    Thanks for the review, Mel!

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  11. Isn't Alina awesome? I love her! I really enjoyed this book too and I'm not a fantasy fan much. I loved the world building it's the best aspect of this novel! So happy you enjoyed it too, Mel!!

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  12. oh Mel, I fangirled all over this book! And the author is just the sweetest. Great review! I loved, loved, loved it!

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    1. I've read this book some days ago, but I'm still fangirling :D

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  13. I don't know why I have put this off for so long! I've seen so many reviews and I still haven't had the chance to buy it, but your review immediately changed my mind! I love books with maps on as well... There is something about them that makes the book even more interactive and special. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  14. Ahh, I loved Mal! <3 This book was just amazing, so psyched about the sequel!

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  15. I didn't umm.. read your review through the whole way even though I know you don't spoil in your reviews, but I'll read this one really soon and I don't want to know very much about it. I know people love this one though and YOU LOVED IT, yay! I have a soft spot for unique and original books + Leigh is a new author for me. I also love a strong protagonist so wohoo for that! Thanks for sharing, Mel:)

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

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    1. I know what you mean! When I'm very excited about a book, I try to skip every review :)

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  16. Aye ya, I still have not read this book either. I've heard/read a lot of wonderful reviews for it as well but never gotten around to it. Another great review Mel, will be checkin this one out hopefully soon. :)

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  17. Wow, wonderful review, Mel! <3 I've been wanting to read this book for ages, but somehow other books always distract me! Your review is just the right reminder that I need to find time to read this soon. I'm glad that the characters sound very amazing! I love strong characters, and the special bond between Mal and Alina seems very cute too. :)

    Thank you for your brilliant review, hun! :)

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    1. Definitely try to make some time for this one! It is worth it, Hilda :)

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  18. I admit I've been avoiding this book because fellow Russians who've read this book didn't take kindly to mangled Russian words and mythology... However I would read t if it gets into my library *wink* Thanks for a wonderful review!

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    1. Ah, I haven't heard of that before. It's a shame if you don't read the book only because of that :)

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  19. I think I will enjoy watching Alina come into her power. I don't know what on Earth I'm waiting for, I should have read this one ages ago. I have a copy and I've been keeping it on my shelf for months.
    Fantastic review.

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    1. Indeed, what are you waiting for?? Go and read it right now! :D

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  20. On the bright side, because you waited to read the first book, you have much less time to wait for the second book unlike those of us who have been waiting a year for it! Really loved Alina, Mal, and the Darkling too!

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  21. I'm reading this right now and you are sooo right on how amazing it is! I've only read 50 pages so far, but the world building and characters and pretty dang great. That sounds like a perfect ending!

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  22. I waited waaaay too long to read this, too, and I was kicking myself, hah. I'm so glad you loved it! I have to confess I am mightily intrigued by the Darkling, too. *blush*

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  23. I've just read this novel as well! And just like you I asked myself why did I wait so long to read it. I really could have hit myself for my stupidity. Worse yet, I had buy this book on its release day and hadn't picked it up until now! But I really really enjoyed it and now I'm dying to get my hands on the sequel. The Darkling was also one of my favorite characters in this novel but Mal was great as well, such a difficult decision!
    I'm so happy you liked it too!

    Rachel @ Books to Consider

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    1. The only smart reason for waiting so long is the fact that the sequel is almost pusblished :D

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  24. I am so glad you enjoyed this one, Mel! It's one of my faves and I can assure you that the sequel - IMO - is even better! :D

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    1. Oh boy, I can't even imagine that! This was already SO good.

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  25. I loved this one as well! And totally agree about the Darkling, he was amazing. And very, very complex. Those are definitely the best kind of characters. I'm so glad you liked it!! And the cover, so pretty and original! Great review :D

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  26. I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much, Mel! I read it a while ago but thought it was fantastic--Siege and Storm is on its way to me, so it looks like this one is up for a reread. Looking forward to it. And I completely agree with you about the characters--particularly Mr Darkling. The complexity of his character was brilliant.

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    1. Happy reading with Siege and Storm! I hope to get a copy soon :D

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  27. Ah where to begin! I LOVED this book and am so happy to hear you did too! You are right that it is such a unique concept and was so welcome among my reading! And I also find the Darkling very intriguing. While reading your review I actually drew a parallel between the Darkling and Warner from Shatter Me. Both very complex characters, unpredictable and with a soft side. Gosh so much about this book was good and your review got me really excited to read Siege and Storm. And another beautiful point you brought up - books with normal endings! Hallelujah! We really don't see enough of its kind in the YA trilogy-sphere.

    Great great review!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

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    1. I haven't read Shatter Me, but I definitely want to read it soon. I bet I'm going to love Warner then :D

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  28. I love complex characters and the Darkling... well... swoon. My love for that character may be bordering on unhealthy. So glad you loved this one! I also like how you pointed out Alina is not a whiner, though she has every reason to be. It was something I didn't really note when I read the book but makes me appreciate the character more :)

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    1. It's always fun to look different at a book once you've read a review :D

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  29. I still have not read this book so honestly I can relate to your 'Why did I wait so long?' comment. I've wanted to read this one since I first heard about it, and if it weren't already sitting on top of my wishlist, your review would have sealed the deal :D I LOVE how you praised the world building, the concept & the characters. All of those factor big on my enjoyment of a fantasy book! Thank you SO much for the brilliant review!!

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    1. You are welcome! I hope you are going to read it soon :D

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  30. I keep seeing such fantastic reviews for this and enitially I didn't have any plans to read it- I'm thinking that is a fact that will shortly be changing. It sounds a little confusing, with the Russian names, and I think I might find the plot a little complex, from reading your review, but I really want to see what I think- I would actually love to listen to this on audio, as I have a feeling it might suit me more than reading for this particular title.
    Love your review, and gif of baby Zel! SO CUTE!

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    1. I admit that it was a bit confusing first, but once you get the hang of it, it's awesome :D

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  31. I've heard so many positive reviews of this book and I can't believe I still haven't read it! Must put that on my list of things to do before the summer...

    Darkling. Literally everyone has been raving about the amazing Darkling. You're description kind of reminds me of Kanin from The Immortal Rules, but I'm really excited to meet him!

    Great reviw, Mel!

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    1. Ohh, I think that Kanin is a pretty good comparison! :)

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  32. Yay! So glad you loved this book sweetie. <3 Sigh. I think it is perfect :) And omg. Hope you will love Siege and Storm :D I still don't like the Darkling much, though :p But I love Mal. <3 He is the best. And Alina is amazing. Sigh. So perfect :) thank you for sharing. <3

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    1. Uhm. I just noticed that I didn't follow you via GFC o.O Which is weird, because I was sure I did. Huh. Well, now I do at least :D

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  33. OH WOW. No, I won't wait any longer either then. This is making its way into the top 20 on my list right now. Gosh, all the key aspects sound so fantastic and well-done! You've really got me wanting to read this one, like, right now Mel XD The concept definitely sounds unique and Alina sounds great :) Brilliant review as always, Mel! ^o^

    Love the quote too >.<

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  34. I can't even add anything to your review. I loved EVERYTHING about this book: the plot, the world, Alina, Mal, THE DARKLING, THE MAP OH MY GOD! I can't believe I waited so long to read this and I can't wait for Siege & Storm to come out! SO EXCITED!!!

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