“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.” ― Leigh Bardugo,
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.
You see, the problem with dueling book reviews is that:
A. One of us uses the quote from the book that I want to use. (Jenn got to use, “Fine. Make me your villain.”
And B. Jenn covered a lot of what I’m feeling.
But let’s start with my biggest and most pressing point in this review. I thought I loved the Six of Crows duology and then I read the first of the Grisha trilogy and I can’t help but think Leigh Bardugo is something of a genius.
Like Jenn, I am reading this series after reading Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. I loved the duology and it is probably one of my favorite series by an author. With that said, I never in my wildest dreams, with the bar set so high, thought I would love Shadow and Bone so much.
She’s not just a beautiful writer, but she does much of what I love about V.E. Schwab (you guys know how I feel about Schwab) and creates “evil” characters that might not actually be considered evil. Like, if we were reading the history books from the Grisha perspective, maybe the Darkling isn’t such a bad dude.
Also, maybe it speaks more on my character, but guys, the Darkling and Alina are the only OTP in my life currently. Somehow, Bardugo created chemistry out of nowhere with these two. I loved the Darkling and I liked Alina’s sense of humor and just total over it personality, but it wasn’t a pairing I’d considered.
Something that really struck me was how Bardugo opened the story. When you’re looking at a fantasy like Shadow and Bone it’s a big gamble to just throw your reader into the world feet first. In this situation it pays off. I mean in the first 30 pages we have our main character facing down Volcra in the Shadow Fold and I was so stressed about characters I didn’t even know.
If you can’t tell, I’m writing this review literally minutes after reading the book, so I’m still reeling a bit. Right now, all I plan to do is read Siege and Storm and pray that there is more Darkling fun. Obviously I gave Shadow and Bone 5/5 stars.