Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy)

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A mesmerizing world! A definite must read!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I have to admit right now that I am not a big fan of high fantasy books, my expectations of them are always too high - the world building and characters have to capture me within the first few pages - I need to be able to picture and feel everything as though I am sitting right next the characters...
Leigh Bardugo not only delivered but went over and beyond anything I could have ever expected with Shadow and Bone!
Her writing and storytelling had me mesmerized right from the start. There were moments that I found myself holding my breath and had to contain myself from skipping ahead! I could not put this book down and ended up reading it all in one night!

I feel like no matter what I write right now, it won't do this book any justice...

Alina is your average teen girl, really, she's just average. In a world that is ranked by power and beauty, Alina does not fit in anywhere. The only place she ever felt slightly normal was when she was with her childhood best friend, Mal. And now that they're of age and have been enlisted to do their jobs, they have been growing apart... until one day, their regiments are deployed to go through The Fold - a place that no one ever wants to go through - and they are attacked and Mal is seriously injured which causes Alina to unleash her unknown powers to stop it. A power that no on else possess. Which then leads to Alina joining the Royal Court, and must go through training to control her new power. She is thrust into an unknown world, one that she had never thought she would ever be a part of. Even with her power, she feels that she not good enough to be ranked with the beautiful Grisha. And I don't blame her! Everyone always thought of her as average, and she believed it. Wouldn't you have a hard time getting over your past as the 'ugly duckling' that nobody wanted?

Mal... I have to say, in the beginning, I didn't like Mal very much. He started off like a typical teen boy, hanging out with his friends, showing off, doing what guys do. But once he was one-on-one with Alina, we finally got to see his true personality, and he shined. Yes, sounds typical, but in real life this is what people do - we sometimes act a bit differently depending who we are with, and most teens are known to do fall for this... and I forgive Mal. He truly lives up to everything you will expect of him, and more.

There is no denying that The Darkling is a stunning, quick witted and a mysterious guy. Which of course makes him completely irresistible. Even though I had a bad gut feeling about this guy, I fell for him. Hard.
And he broke my heart... and no, I will never forgive him.

The Fold.
This is the place where nightmares are made. Seriously! I had a dream, errr, nightmare about it. The Fold is a stretch of land that has been voided. There is nothing there but complete darkness and for lack of a better word, death. This is where Bardugo's writing and world building just left me with my mouth hanging open, staring out into space, picturing and feeling exactly what it would feel like to be in that place... it gave me the shivers.

If you loved Katsa, Po and Leck from Graceling (by Kristin Cashore), you will also love Alina, Mal and The Darkling. Similar stories, for both are very well written high fantasy books. But so very different in everything else. Shadow and Bone is a must read book!
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Perfect! One of the best of 2012!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I am always looking for the next book that is going to blow me away, and Shadow and Bone has done it!

I was transfixed by the Grisha world. It was unique and completely different than anything I have ever read, and from Chapter 1 I was hooked.

Alina was such a great heroine. Her power is discovered while protecting a friend in the Fold, a place of total darkness filled with all sorts of treacherous creatures. From there, she has the attention of all of Ravka, even the Darkling, the most powerful of all Grisha. I liked that Alina had to work to figure out her powers, and it took her a while to even be able to call them forth. It wasn't a bang, I'm awesome type of thing. She had to work endlessly and tirelessly. This made it all the more amazing when she finally broke through!

And then there's The Darkling. Oh my yummy yum yums! He's dark (obviously) and mysterious and powerful and brooding...and I could go on and on about all the great glowering things he is, but you get the point! I immediately fell for him because wowza! I want to go back and re-read it just for him!

This book was amazing! Full of suspense and steam, I couldn't put it down!
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Shadow And Bone / The Gathering Dark
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
(Note: I received the UK version of Shadow And Bone for review which is called The Gathering Dark)

ISBN: 9781780621104
Publisher: Indigo
Pages: 442

A dark heart. A pure soul. A love that will last forever.

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 fulfil 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?

I received The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo from Indigo for review, which I absolutely LOVED reading! My favourite characters were Alina and Mal. Inseparable since they became childhood friends at the orphanage, Alina and Mal start to slowly grow apart. Mal befriends others of the same status as himself within the Army, whilst Alina in turn, makes a few friends of her own as well as becoming more independent, in her position as cartographer’s assistant. Alina was one of my favourite characters because despite her small stature, she is quite fiery, stubborn and determined. Mal was one of my favourite characters because of his amazing hunting and tracking abilities as well as his caring nature. I absolutely LOVED reading about the fashion in Ravka! The descriptions of not only the surrounding landscapes and residents of Ravka, but also the fashions of each class were amazing! I also really liked reading about the Grisha culture alongside Alina, as she learnt about it herself. Although I like the cover of The Gathering Dark, I prefer the cover of my ARC copy due to its simple, floral patterns and bold colour scheme of purple, black & white.
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Russian Steampunk=Tsarpunk. SHADOW AND BONE is an amazing debut!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
This is in my top 5 books of 2012, probably top 2 of the year, also. This was SOOOOO, so good!!
Good Points
Ten out of ten shuddering stars would only be the tiniest flicker of light this book well deserves. I am in awe of the amazing world of Shadow and Light and Bone and Blood. Leigh Bardugo, there are no words. You've laid them down exquisitely, and I just want to sit in the dark space after closing the book, having read the last pages, and soak in all the wonderment you brought me through.

Wow.

"The woods were silent in their grief." One of my most favorite quotes from the book. I cannot elaborate where it comes into play or ruin a special moment for the reader. But I will say you must read this book with eyes and heart and soul opened to the whispered moments Bardugo has deftly woven together with the aid and skill of the Fabrikators and their ilk.

So many wonderful characters to get to know and fall in love with, some of whom do not survive throughout the pages herein. Still, this does not diminish where the light and darkness takes you, where Alina must ultimately go to find herself and her purpose and her strength.

I enjoyed the way Bardugo built her world from the beginning in an orphanage, through all the ranks and colors of the army, all the way up to the darkling and the royal family. The richness of the Russian-like culture seeps through the pages, and gives a wonderful vibe to the rest of the story. The way she wove these details into the story did not require a glossary or appendix of definitions, nor was it so complex as to flummox the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed Bardugo's world and can't wait to read what's next.

If you've any further doubt over whether you should or should not RUN IMMEDIATELY to your nearest locale and buy this book and do NOTHING ELSE until you've read every word, then trust me to tell you: this is the book worthy of your time. DO IT NOW. Sensational. Literally. Good and Evil, Darkness and Light, Shadow and Bone. It's all there. And kisses in the dark. Many kisses. Many dark places.

Read it quickly. You'll be holding your breath so much, you might pass out otherwise. Someone should attach a reader warning on the side, or else watch as readers everywhere pass out from too much amazement, tension, and wringing of hands.
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Shadow and bone
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Oh My God! I loved this book. Truthfully, I had seen everybody talking about it on goodreads but I didn't check it out until recently. While reading it I could not believe that this was the author's first novel.

I loved the characters, from Alina to Mal and I have to admit I liked The Darkling in the beginning. They all developed beautifully and were realistic, even though some of them had "powers", they all had flaws.

The world that Leigh Bardugo created was simply magnificent. It was like Russia but at the same time it really wasn't Russia. I think this land has the ability to rival Narnia, that is how good it truly is.

This was one of those books that I couldn't read fast enough but at the same time dreaded ending. I will definitely be purchasing it since I checked it out of the library and will also be buying the sequel. Too bad I have to wait forever for it to come out!

If you haven't read this book yet you really should. It is simply amazing and it is written beautifully.
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Must Read
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Wow!!! Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. After seeing so much hype about Shadow and Bone, I finally got my hands on a copy and it just blew me away. Leigh Bardugo! You are AWESOME! =) I was sucked into this story from the beginning to the very end, gripping the covers of the book in anticipation, wondering what would happen next. The Grisha world, and characters were beautifully written with such creativity and imagination. I really like how descriptive Bardugo was when describing the land of Ravka, the Vy, and the Fold. The Fold straight up sounds creepy and scary ass hell!
I love the three main characters in this book, Alina, Mal, and the Darkling. Alina is the type of heroine who never backs down. That is something I admire about her. Her character grows throughout the book and even though shes strong-willed, you get to see the softer and vulnerable side to her as well.
Mal, in the beginning I didn't really like him. But as the story progressed, my heart soften for him. He's the best friend anyone would want. He is a strong, brave, and extremely loyal person to those he care about. He never gave up on Alina even when he was pissed off at her. There is definitely more to him and meets the eye.
The Darkling, gosh, I can go on and on about him. I LOVE him!!!! He is charming, sexy, mysterious, strong, scary...etc... His character is so well written and I couldn't believe what happened in the story!!! Seriously! I rooted for him since the beginning of the book and even after finding out that he was the villain and just wanted to use Alina and her powers, I still couldn't help but continue to root for him. The more he was turning into the villain, the more excuses I would try to come up with for his behavior. I really do believe he still has true feelings for Alina. I hope that in the next book we can see more of the Darkling and hopefully *cross fingers* he will redeem himself in Alina's eyes.
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Interesting!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Shadow and Bone was an interesting fantasy novel filled with magic.
I liked the plot and the world building. I found Ravka and the Shadowfold really intriguing. And the Grisha were also really fascinating with their different powers and abilities.
The characters were also interesting. The Darkling had so many mysteries surrounding him. And Alina and Mal were also great.
With unexpected twists in the story this was an exciting novel and I'm eager to find out what happens next.
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Hot dog!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Need to start the second book!
Good Points
That was really great, a new idea. Liked the characters, the plot.

Admired the friendship that Mal & Alina shared. Both coming from war torn countries having this bond that couldn't be broken even when they were separated.

Liked Alina's character. She goes from being an orphan, somebody that wasn't wanted, to suddenly being wanted by everyone. Good or bad. In a way evolves throughout to book to finally embrace who, or what, she really is. Having to decide between saving the world or to help destroy it.

The Darkling (for some reason kept picturing "The Jew Hunter" from "Inglorious Bastards.") was an interesting character. He used his powers to get what he wanted from everyone. Went from somewhat of a nice guy to an evil mastermind. Crazy, but I liked him!

Can't wait for the second one!
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An original tale of fantasy and magic that I couldn’t put down
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Where do I even begin?! Maybe with how Leigh created such a magical and original world filled with darkness, adventure, and love in the throws of an ongoing war. Or how Shadow and Bone has such a wonderful female lead, Alina, who starts off frail and innocent, but slowly learns her destiny, inner strength, and what makes her truly special. Leigh’s writing is superb and refreshing, purely captivating. I love that she was able to paint this picture of a fantasy world, similar to Russian culture, in a way that wasn’t boring at all. She gave just the right amount of detail in terms of scenery and characters so I never felt like it was too much.

I did not skim or skip over pages here, people! That’s how thoroughly entertaining and engrossing it was.
The setting is during a crazy war that’s been going on for several years. The Grisha are basically warlocks and witches who work alongside the King of Ravka and his people against the Shadow Fold, which is simply this place of darkness where all these gruesome creatures come out to play, and by play I mean attack and kill you. The story follows Alina, who learns she has an amazing magical power of her own, and slowly discovers how to control it and use it to fight her enemies. Her character grows a lot throughout the story and though she often doubts herself and questions her abilities, she did so in a way that wasn’t annoying like a lot of female leads tend to be, so that was great.

Oh, and don’t get me started on Mal. There was one part, something he says literally caused me to gasp because that moment was so touching and sweet, I totally swooned for him right then and there. It’s like, just when you think you couldn’t care less for his character, or you’re wondering how significant his role is in the story, BAM!, Leigh throws a curve ball at you and you’re swept off your feet. But this love is not without its complications as the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha, plays a very important role and there are definitely some thrilling moments with him as well. Although there’s not a lot in the way of romance throughout the book, it’s enough to keep you going and really, the focus of the story is so much more than that.

There are a lot of secrets and surprises in this book and it really draws you in right from the beginning. No frills or fluff! A truly epic high-fantasy read that will have you mesmerized from start to finish. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
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Wholly original and unputdownable
(Updated: September 14, 2016)
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
I can’t even begin to explain my love for this book. It was a wholly original storyline with fantastic, loveable characters and incredible world-building. This creative book had me on the edge of my seat for half of the book, while the other half I was left gob-smacked at the plot twists, turns, romance, surprises and the magical elements.

Shadow and Bone follows the story of Alina Starkov, an unremarkable, ordinary map-maker in the King’s First Army, who serves with her best friend Mal, a soldier. She lives in Ravka, a country home to an elite class of warriors, scientists and healers called the Grisha, who have special, innate abilities. But Ravka is not the powerful country it used to be and is frequently threatened by enemy neighbours. Centuries ago, a power hungry Grisha called the Black Heretic created the Shadow Fold, an impenetrable swath of darkness that extends from one side of Ravka to the other, leaving Ravka severely weakened. On her first journey through the Shadow Fold, Alina discovers that she too is a Grisha when she attempts to protect her friend from danger and it is discovered that she has the ability to summon light, a highly sought after power. She soon finds herself in a dangerous world filled with politics, murder, adventure, betrayal and in the middle of a menacing plot that could destroy Ravka for good.

(warning: spoilers below)

The novel begins quickly and essentially throws you into the deep end, head on. The reader is immediately introduced to several characters as well as the fantasy element of the book. Usually, I detest this kind of pacing in a novel, especially in a fantasy one. It is quite confusing to keep up with everything, as the writer needs to thoroughly explain a complex magical world, along with the history and culture of said world. However, this is not the case here. Bardugo cleverly explains her world of magic in a quick, precise manner that I wish I knew how to emulate. The magical elements were incredibly fascinating and I often found myself wanting to read more about this interesting world. There is no time for the reader to pause and catch their breath, and for once, I enjoyed that. It made me hungry for more.

The characters were wonderfully animated and developed. Alina was a great protagonist: she was a funny, charming, insecure, rude, angry little ball of fire who I related to on a personal level. I am so thankful that Bardugo constantly emphasised that Alina was not classically beautiful, like so many other YA protagonists are. This is something many YA writers need to be made aware of. Your protagonists do not always need to be beautiful. They can still be badass women who get the guy at the end with plain, or ugly, or average features. Alina really grows throughout the novel: at the beginning, she is terrified of this power within her and convinced she will fail. Slowly, her training improves and her power develops, as does her confidence. I would have to say Alina is one of my favourite YA heroines; she’s up there with Aelin Galaythinus, Feyre Archeron, Rose Hathaway and Clary Fray.

Alina and her best friend, Mal, had a strong relationship. They grew up together in the same orphanage and joined the army to be close to one another. Alina harbours a secret crush on Mal, and has for years, one he is blissfully unaware of. They spend a good chunk of the novel apart, which allows Mal to realise his feelings for Alina were no longer platonic.

My favourite character was, not surprisingly as I love a well-written bad guy, the Darkling. The Darkling is the only Grisha of his kind; he can summon darkness and is the most powerful of all the Grisha. The only person in all of Ravka who has power of him is the King. The Darkling even has his own army, dubbed the Second Army, full of highly trained Grisha. The Darkling is presented as the good guy at the beginning of the novel, and it is suggested he is Alina’s love interest. I know I thought there would be a love triangle between Alina, the Darkling and Mal, with Alina eventually choosing the Darkling. The Darkling continually references the fact that he and Alina are the only two of their kind. I thought this would go the way of every other YA book and was so happy when it didn’t. The Darkling, it’s revealed, was actually the Black Heretic and wants to use the power of the Shadow Fold to extend it rather than destroy it, as he stated he would with Alina’s sun power. I think my jaw actually dropped onto the floor when his true identity was revealed. Kudos to Bardugo on that one.

The plot was so original and exciting – I didn’t want to put the book down! Once Alina discovers her powers, she is taken to the Little Palace (the Darkling’s residence) to train and hone her powers in order to use them against the Shadow Fold and save Ravka. No pressure at all. After she discovers the Darkling’s true nature, she escapes with the help of the Darkling’s mother and decides to hunt for Morozova’s Stag, one of three magical creatures that will amplify Alina’s powers by killing them and fashioning them into cuffs and a collar. The Darkling had plans to control Alina through the amplifiers, so Alina plans to find them first.

What I loved most about this novel was the magical element. The Grisha do not have magic. It’s called the Small Science which they practise and are able to manipulate. The Grisha are divided into three orders: Corporalki, Etherealki and Materialki, and then further divided into specialised types. Their powers are extensions of the natural world, which is explained thoroughly in the novel. I really like that magic is not simply magic, it’s a science. Bardugo has developed a complex, interesting and original magic system here.

Bardugo is a great fantasy writer: concise and yet beautiful. I was able to easily visualise everything she described. I have never really been a fan of first person writing, but I think it worked for this type of book.

This was a fantastic first novel in a series. The world-building was rich, the characters wonderfully developed and the plot fascinating. I can’t wait to read the next!
Good Points
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