Published: 5th June 2012
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.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.
I really wanted to like this book and there are things to like. The opening paragraph is great and the first chapter really does set the scene of the book. The descriptions of The Fold are well done and add menace to the situation and the pace is fast moving. However, I can’t help but compare it to other YA fantasies I have read recently and unfortunately for me, it doesn’t quite match in quality to some recent reads.
The main character Alina bothers me, I want to like her, I want her to turn into a confident young woman but she leaves me feeling rather flat. She never seems happy with her situation and is easily manipulated by those around her. I preferred the character of Mal, but again I don’t feel he was ‘fleshed’ out enough. The whole love triangle seemed very unlikely and left me feeling rather cold.
The book is fast paced and there are some lovely descriptions of the palaces but it did lack a little world building for me. I love a fantasy were the world comes alive, I felt more could be made of the world that Alina and Mal are in. The whole book came together a little fast and although I don’t like padding for paddings sake, some of the story could have been made more of. I did love the way the book came full circle, the last few paragraphs written in the style of the first chapter pulled it together nicely.
Having said all of this I probably will give the other books a go, this was a quick read for me. I am hoping that the world will be ‘built’ and I would like to know where the journey goes. If you are new YA fantasy this is probably a good jumping off point. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy to review.