Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 5 stars
Magic, war, adventure and love, mixed together, BAMM! How can you not love it? Shadow and Bone was an exquisite read, it really was amazingly written with an unexpected plot.
I first saw this book on Goodreads and I was skeptical about whether or not it will be a good read. Then when it arrived for me in the library shortly after its release date (I got in fast on the library waiting list, yay!) I was getting quite excited from all the positive reviews I had previously read. Turned out, I absolutely loved Shadow and Bone!
The whole idea of the book tuned me in right from the beginning, especially about the strong friendship between the central female and male characters. When I saw the synopsis of it saying that Alina would be separated from Mal, I further lowed my expectations. I didn't think that the author can make the book interesting with just Alina's thoughts and actions. Fortunately, I was proven wrong. This is the only book I have read so far which successfully separated the two main characters but still continued a brillant story that hooked me in. The friendship between Alina and Mal was so pure and intense, and I was very moved by their relationship. It's hard to have something like that, and one should always treature it while it lasts. The invention of Grishas was innovative. The writing style of the book was also something I really came to love. It reminded me of the writing style of Graceling: slightly olden-day styled yet suitable for fantasy.
The main character started off as a bit petite and weak but grew up and built up personality and strength as the story progressed. We the readers grew up with the character, that was a powerful thing the author did there: she connected our lives and feelings to Alina. Mal was something of a constant, he symbolised strength and trust. I didn't like him at first because of his flamboyant personality at the beginning of the book, but because of various events and insights, I came to like him and understand him.
The Darkling was something of an enigma, as to why he is, you will have to read and find out! I can't really figure him out that well; even till the end of the book, there were still things which I didn't quite get, questions which I still wondered about. But it was hard to like or not like him (hard to have an opinion of him). I guess that's why there is a next book coming. All in all, I thought Shadow and Bone could have been a stand-alone book. But I am intrigued to see where the author will take it next. If you like a good fantasy, you should totally read this!
Synopsis 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.