Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I dived into Shadow and Bone without knowing exactly what I’m in for. It was something I’ve never read before which is a good thing. As an avid fantasy reader, it’s always nice to discover something fresh and authentic from the genre. And I must say, Leigh Bardugo has certainly nailed the originality aspect.
Shadow & Bone is the first book from the Grisha trilogy. The story is set in Ravka which is a Russia-inspired territory. It follows the story of Alina who grew up in an orphanage together with her best friend, Mal. As teens, they became a part of the Second Army. After a fateful event as they were crossing the Shadow Fold, which is a long dark passageway and where the flesh-eating volcras are lurking, Alina and Mal were suddenly thrown into the world of an elite group of people who can manipulate elements of nature known as the Grishas.
This is my third time reading this book and still, the world that Bardugo has crafted continues to amaze me. I love everything about Ravka, Small Science and Grishas of course. It’s rich in culture, tradition and an entirely unique concept!
As far as the characters go, I didn’t enjoy Alina as a protagonist. I had a hard time liking her which sucks because I was stuck in her head the entire story. I suppose she’s written as a very normal girl but I didn’t find her relatable at all. I couldn’t connect with her. She was judgemental and has severe low self-esteem. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s totally ok to feel insecure once in a while, it’s totally normal! But Alina has zero faith in herself at all! Don’t get me started on her obsession with her looking so plain which is the reason she believes why she cannot possibly be a Grisha because that’s exactly how someone can become a Grisha *facepalm*
The character that stood out for me the most in this book is definitely the Darkling. He’s such a multifaceted being and I enjoyed every scene he was on. I would love to get in his head and read his thoughts! I bet that would be amazing. Another thing I love about this book is the prologue and epilogue. I thought it was an amazing idea because it could really draw readers in.
For a fantasy read, this is only 300 or so pages but it’s packed with thrilling scenes. I find Bardugo’s writing style as captivating and easy to read so I highly recommend this to readers who want to try a good fantasy read.
To wrap this up, I love this book mainly because this has introduced me to the world of Ravka. And yes, the hype is real for this book and the other two.