Happy Friday! The weekend is here! Time for another review, I've been doing good in catching up with some series I wanted to read in 2014 but never had time to start many of which are already finished making them perfect for marathoning. Today's book is one of those, Shadow and Bone, the first book in the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I've completed the trilogy as it stands, though I hear there is a short story or novella coming to e-book this month that focuses on one of the characters that intrigues me. I'll be reviewing the books individually, I've gone back and forth and I like the idea of reviewing each one rather than lumping them all together and giving tons of spoilers for the first books to say anything about the last.
This story is a fantasy world full of magic and creatures and lots of things and places I can't being to pronounce. Oh and it has a map which are always so beautiful and fun to look at. The nation of Ravka is torn in two by what is known as the Shadow Fold, a patch of total darkness that is crawling with monsters who devour people to step into it. Our heroine is Alina, map maker apprentice in the regiment. Not good at much herself she is best friends with Mal, another orphan like herself raised in the same orphanage and best friends since childhood. She may also have a huge crush on him but then again who wouldn't. They are set to cross the fold with their regiment, hoping to not lose too many. However, when their ride is attacked Alina reveals a power that saves many, a power that could be the key to setting the war-ravaged country free. She is pulled away from everything she knows and thrust into the world of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the Darkling. She is forced to come to terms with her new powers and try to adapt to the new life she has before her and she discovers not everything in the lavish world of court is as it seems. The whole kingdom is depending on her power to set them all free, yet she isn't sure she can be their savior.
Rating: 5 Stars
I didn't know much about this book going in. I knew a bunch of people on BookTube and blogs I follow talked about it. I heard about the Darkling, though nothing specific. I only knew that people seemed to love this series. I was late to the party but I bought all three last year and they sat waiting for me on my shelf. I bought several books and series before YALLfest last year hoping to get to them all before but let's be honest things never work out as you plan. Still I missed my deadline but that only meant I could enjoy them later already waiting for me. My friend at Bogdana The Booknerd told me about a Goodreads read along starting the book we both had talked about wanting to read. It seemed like a good time to do it and reading only a couple chapters a day kept me on track for my other books as well. It was hard only reading the allotted chapters.
That was my general feel through the read along. I always wanted to read ahead and fly through more chapters by the second day. The first part has some world building and such, all well done and drew me in but it became hard to put down quickly as well it hits the fan pretty early on and just goes and goes from there. I followed Alina through her journey and watched her deal with everything thrown at her from having a crush on her sexy and popular with the ladies best friend who is clueless to her feelings, to suddenly being looked at as more than an orphan in the regiment but the most important tool in ending the Shadow Fold. Serious life upheaval. She has her moments. Sometimes I wanted to strangle Alina for some of her choices but all the while I could understand where she was coming from even if I didn't agree.
|See the pretty map!|
Some of the other characters, Mal, The Darkling, Genya, etc. put me through the ringer with emotions and feelings. I could never tell with them. One minute I was convinced of one thing then a later I was completely thinking something else. I loved that while I had some aspects pegged from the start I kept second guessing myself on some. The characters were written that well. Genya is such a free spirit and from the moment you first meet her you just kind of laugh reading scenes with her. Mal, boy next door you want to hit on the head for not noticing our herorine and being an idiot at times. The Darkling who has so much more to him and you see a side to him and think despite the fact that his name is the Darkling and your thinking he's going to be a bad guy by that alone might actually be searching for redemption. Creepy priests and totally witches (Zoya) who act like the mean girl in school on a much higher scale and everything rounds out. There are a lot of different characters and personalities in the first book alone.
With all the personalities you also get the aspect of royal court. The good, bad, and ugly. Politics are not a joy to be thrust into. A new shinny toy to be played with and fought over. The intrigue there as well, the whole system between royalty, Grisha, and common folk was well explained and done. The overall story has a lot going for it with action, adventure, political intrigue, mystery, magic, and yes romance. Overall I was addicted and I wanted more.
That's about all I can say right now without spoiling any of the good fun bits. I thought this book was amazing full of everything you want in a good high fantasy book! I'll share my thoughts on the rest of the series in the coming weeks so stay tuned. Until then share your thoughts on Shadow and Bone in the comments. What was your favorite part? Until next time.