Shadow and Bone
By: Leigh Bardugo
Released: June 5, 2012
Purchase the Book: Amazon
"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." (Summary from goodreads.com)
Shadow and Bone is such a different story and I loved it. Alina has always thought that she wasn't anything special. She grew up as an orphan along with her best friend Mal. However that all changes when she uses a power she didn't know she had to save her friend. After her power is revealed, she is taken away to the royal court where she will be trained. Alina made a great female protagonist. She is strong, smart, and tough but she is also flawed. She definitely has her heart in the right place and will try her best to protect the people she cares about. Alina was a likable character that I could easily connect with early on. At times some her decisions would make me angry but I like that she isn't perfect.
Mal is Alina's best friend from childhood. Alina and Mal care a great deal about each other and will do anything to protect one another. I love the relationship they share and I enjoyed learning about their childhood together. Mal was another character that it was easy for me to like early on. Then there is the Darkling who lives at the royal court. When Alina is sent there to train, she begins to get to know more about the Darkling. He was definitely a character I had some mixed emotions about.
I love the setting and world that Bardugo has built up in this story. She does an excellent job with explaining it all without it ever getting confusing or overwhelming. I loved the whole concept and I can honestly say that I have never read anything else like this before.
Not only is the world strongly developed but so is the plot. The plot is exciting and there is plenty of action. I also was taken by surprise by several of the plot twists. Overall Shadow and Bone is an exciting story that will take you on an adventure you won't soon forget. I strongly recommend it!