Monday, June 25, 2012

{Review} Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
Released: June 5th, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Format: Hardcover, 358 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Grisha Trilogy, #1
Source: Bought online at B&N
Buy: Barnes and Noble | Amazon
Rating: 5/5 stars

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 was just downright amazing. Spectacular, incredible, all of the above. This is easily one of my top five favorites of 2012. And is easily the top ten of all time. <3 I loved this book so much, plus more. It deserve every one of those stars; and if there were more stars, I'd give it more. Definitely. This is one of those times where I wish I had all of the books in the series. I. Must. Have. Them. All. o_o

I have a limit on my emotions, okay. And when that line gets crossed, I just go crazy. I did with this. And you know what?

The story follows a young girl, Aline Starkov, who grew up in an orphanage with her best friend, Mal, and got transferred to a military post to serve as a mapmaker for the First Army. In the world of Ravka, there are people with unique abilities call Grisha. And one day, while protecting Mal as they were crossing the "Fold" or The Unsea, she discovered she held a power that was more powerful than any of the Grisha. Her life changes when she learns more about her power, and more about betrayal and trust than anything.

I'm glad I didn't rush through this like I normally would have done. With this epic read, you have to take your time with it in some parts to get to understanding what's what and what's happening, especially since this is so original. But it didn't take long for me. It was so freaking vivid in my head, and so amaaaaazzziiinnnnggg. Ugh. <3333 Leigh Bardugo created a whole new world unlike any other, it's so intriguing and mesmerizing! I'd love to read this all over again, to fall even more in love with the story and get swept away by all the characters.~ The map in the front of the books was awesome, and very helpful actually! :D The plot itself was different and more unique than anything I've ever read. And that's saying a lot. I've read a quite a bit in my short 16-going-on-17 years of existence. And this has to top the cake beautifully.

The characters in this was weaved perfectly. The main heroine, Alina--which the book is set in her POV--is stronger than most heroines I've read about. Sure, she has her weak moments. But in a world like Ravka, who wouldn't? I'd probably be crapping my pants with each glance at The Unsea. ._. I loved Alina because she had a transformation in the book. First she was dull and naive, but when she got a grasp of her powers, she turned into a strong, kick-ass lady. I liked that her power was Sun Summoning, where she can summon brilliant light to her fingertips. It's different and pretty damn cool if you ask me.

Malyen "Mal" was my favorite character in this. He's different from most love interests in YA books. Alina being in love with him, and him just prancing around with other beautiful women and him not noticing it, just made me like his and Alina's relationship even more. It kept me guessing to see if Mal came to his senses or not. This one quote he said to Alina near the ending of the books just sent me swooning and careening.

"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.

I just wanted to cry for them both right then and there. You could just feel the love pouring from them, and it was just so sweet and tender.

As for the Darkling, I liked him a pretty good bit. He was just the right about of brooding and mysterious and dangerous. He was also a damn good villain. And he knew it. I also liked the fact that we didn't really know his name. And I don't know if we'll ever know his real name or not. It's just one of the many mysteries that is Shadow and Bone. :D But I know this, it was pretty nasty that the Darkling played Alina. I think I felt more sorry for her than anybody in the book. It just goes to show that the Darkling is very much a power-hungry selfish person. And to think I was liking him better than Mal in the beginning. >_> Also, and this is my fangirl coming out. If anyone has seen the Nick TV show The Legend of Korra, I think General Iroh reminds me a LOT of the Darkling.

Just sayin'... *scoots away awkwardly*

All of the other characters were spectacular in this. I don't think there wasn't really anything I didn't like. Well....except Ivan. He's a prick. c:

There was never a dull moment in S&B, it kept me interested from the prologue. The action in this was awesome and very satisfying for me, since I'm a big action freak. c: And the romance is very nice and spicy. Bardugo can right those scenes very good, I tell ya. ;) This is gonna be one of those books where I'll be thinking about for a long time. And I wouldn't mind a bit. <3

I can't say this enough: I loved Shadow and Bone! I would recommend it to everybody. Read this now!

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