My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m always astounded by the amount of creativity and imagination that goes into fantasy books and Shadow and Bone is no exception. I started this book with no real expectations to be perfectly honest, I was intrigued at the summary and after seeing a few glowing reviews the galley ‘fell’ into my lap.
Mal and Alina were orphaned at a young age, taken in by the Duke and then eventually becoming a part of the first army. Mal of course is the charismatic boy who all the girls swoon over and all the guys want to be. Our lovely Alina has an unrequited love for him that takes a backseat to their friendship. They have always been there for each other and so she watches him from the sidelines jealous of all the girls he notices.
Then the whole story flips on us.
Alina isn’t what or who she seems and someone else notices. Enter The Darkling. I know I probably shouldn’t like him as much as I do, but I found myself wanting MORE MORE MORE of his character. He was dark and sinister and sexy and just everything that he should have been and I can’t wait for more of him in the next in the series.
I have to say that Bardugo did an incredible job of creating both the world of Ravka, with the Grisha and the characters of this book. The visuals I imagined from her words were perfection.
I really found myself connecting with Alina and her character development was wonderful. While Alina started the book ‘mousy’ and shy, filled with identity issues, the one thing she absolutely ended up being, was strong. She may not have been the most beautiful or intelligent but, there is a point in the story that was a turning point for her, where she begins to exude this strength of character that I really enjoyed. Mal … I’ll be honest, in the first 1/4 of the book I wanted to shake him a bit, but he totally redeemed himself in my eyes and definitely will be added to my list of swoony boys. This passage clinched it for me…
“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason , just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely.
This book has a bit of everything… the love and romance (which I love), violence and death (which I love), adventure and betrayal (which I love) and revolves around the theme of the struggle for power and to what extent some will go to in order to get it.
I don’t want to give anything away in this review because the book is filled with twists and turns and there are a lot of aspects that if I even hint at will take away the surprise you’ll get while reading it, which is why I’m trying to keep this as vague as possible… I know that my review of this book will not do it justice simply because I can’t spoil it for people who haven’t read it, but know this. The plot was incredibly done, the characters were wonderfully written and the story will pull you in and when you get to the last page you’ll be looking for more. If you are a fantasy lover, this book is a must read, and if you’re not … well read it anyway because it’s going to make you a fan of the genre for sure.