Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha #1
Published June 2012 by Henry Holt
358 pages
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Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: 1. Shadow and Bone* 2. Siege and Storm (2013) 3. Ruin and Rising (2014)
Source: Purchased
Rating: LOVED IT

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. (Source: Goodreads)

My favorite piece of architecture is St. Basil’s Cathedral, so this cover called to me. I am so glad she came to the Austin Teen Book Festival forcing my hand. I had to get it read, so I could gush all over her.

Nineteenth-century Russia is a perfect backdrop for a very unique fantasy. Leigh said she wanted to see what happens when someone brings a gun to a magic fight. See now you are intrigued. She gives us a world that is based in the Small Science. Children are sought out for their talent in controlling the elements on a molecular level. They are brought to the capital and trained. The Grisha reminded me of the Janissary corps of the Ottoman Empire. Children were brought to the capital, educated, trained creating the ultimate loyal forces.

We learn about his world through the eyes of Alina, an orphan that makes maps for the army.  Her life changes when her best friend and secret love, Mal, and herself are in mortal danger. She taps something that was so deep and hidden within herself that she doesn’t even know what happened. The Darkling, the most feared Grisha ever, confirms that Alina is Grisha and whisks her away from the life she knew. In the castle, she is thrust into palace intrigue, classes and training to harness her talent.  I felt for Alina. Whose a girl to trust? The Darkling? Does he have her interest in mind? Is he interested in her? Is she interested in him? Is he evil or good? And it isn’t until she is unveiled as the ultimate weapon in the Fold that you’ll know what his true intentions are.

I am BIG LOVE with this debut novel and can’t believe will have to wait till 2013 to follow the saga.

What a world. What a world.

21 responses to “Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  1. So frakin fantastic! This one is a definite re-read for me, before the sequel comes out. Just so I can relive Alina’s journey and experiences. I really hope more of the Small Sciences is explained in the next book. Just love the magical science angle.

    THE DARKLING. What a character.

  2. I just finished this one on Monday and I loved it too! Glad to see so many great reviews about it!! We are casting it this Friday, you should join in!!

  3. Yay! I’m so glad that you loved this, Amy. And that you got to meet Leigh! :)

  4. I need to get this read, I have it just looking for the time to read it. Great review.

  5. I am seeing swoony good reviews all over the place for this one! Not sure if I want to start now…or after the next book or two are out so I can blow through them all at once without the wait. I’m greedy like that.

    p.s. loved that you quoted the wicked witch of the west at the end. made my blog reading day ;)

  6. So glad you loved it!!!! I did too, and Leigh Bardugo is so great! :)

  7. Sounds fantastic! Glad you got to have a cool author encounter too. I may wait to read it until the sequel is out so the wait is not so agonizing. But your review makes me very intrigued.

  8. You guys are going to force me to bump this up from next year’s YA reads to maybe this year! Seriously this sounds like a book I would like :)

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