Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

12:00 AM

Number of Pgs.: 358 
Publication date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
How I got the copy: library
Rating:  5 stars
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.
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Setting: 7/10
Pacing: 8/10
Style: 10/10
Cover:  I didn't like the cover.  It's very masculine and has lots of dark colors.  Although I do like the font.  That's the reason it took me so long to pick this one up. 
43+50=93 (5 Stars)

When a book has a unique layout, that always catches my interest.  I loved that this book began in third person with a tale about two orphans.  Then we get the first person narrative from Alina's POV.  And the ending is back in third person.  This layout was not the only thing unique about this book.  I feel like it should be on a shelf of it's own.  It was so refreshingly different.  There was a great mixture of romance, action, adventure, etc.  The only thing that lacked for me was the setting description was a little sparse (thank goodness for the map on the inside cover!).  I couldn't really figure out what time period or country it was supposed to be.  I think now it's Russia in a future or a past time?  I'm still not really sure.  But apparently a Kefta is like a robe. I just found this pinterest board and youtube video the author has on her site about what inspired the book. Wish I had seen it before I read.

The MC, Alina, was easy to like.  She's ordinary, plain, drab, and yet inside she's got the spirit of a fighter, but she's also really kind.  I liked that she didn't completely grow up emotionally/mentally.  It'll give her a chance to continue to grow as the series continues.  The romance was slow going and there's more room for growth as well in that area.  I also thought, since she's been on her own for so long, that she'd have been better at self preservation.  Just sayin.

The Darkling reminded me of Voldemort in the sense that he had flaws that made me sympathize for him.  I'm not saying I liked either of them, but in a sense I felt bad that they lacked love and the meaning of life.

Mal wasn't really described that much, so I didn't really fall for him, but I did enjoy his presence I guess.  Genya was the comic relief.  I liked her special skill.  Wish I had that particular power!

I also liked the theme of "What is home really".  Is it where you live, a person, a country?  Human nature makes us want to belong.  Alina's trying to figure out where she belongs.

“ I told myself. How would I have said goodbye to Mal anyway? Thanks for being my best friend and making my life bearable. Oh, and sorry I fell in love with you for a while there. Make sure to write!
"What are you smiling at?"
I whirled, peering into the gloom. The Darkling's voice seemed to float out of the shadows. He walked down to the stream, crouching on the bank to splash water on his face and through his dark hair.
"Well?" he asked, looking up at me.
"Myself," I admitted.
"Are you that funny?"
"I'm hilarious.” 
― Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone


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