Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Thursday, 13 February 2014 02:11

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young adult.
Rating:  5 of 5 stars

Surrounded by enemies, the once great nation of Ravka has been torn into two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on 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 dormat 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 and I are going to change the world."  

What can I say about this book? There’s so much to say and so much to love about this book. Bardugo's novel Shadow and Bone struck a chord in my heart from the very beginning. I loved the prologue. I find the concept of kids falling in love and comforting each other in desolate times adorable. 

This book is a phenomenal piece of work. A rarity as I have never come across such a different and captivating story line in a long time. 

I wish I could forget what I've read and read the story again. I wish I could forget the characters and their revelations. I wish I could read this story again without knowing what awaits me. I know that will never happen because every part of this story is etched into my memory. Sigh – this book is truly phenomenal.

The Story


The story takes place in a land called Ravka which has been torn into two by the Shadow Fold - a vast void filled with darkness; a proof that the Grisha power has gone bad. 

The Grisha are the magical elite of Ravka also known as the soldiers to the Second Army. They are extraordinary people who use the Small Science of Elements. They are the magical beings of Ravka.

Alina Starkov and her regiment have to cross the Shadow Fold in silent skiffs, each and every one of them armed and ready to go in a battle for life in order to get to the other side without being eaten alive by the Volcra(monstrous winged beings). But when the Volcra attack her best friend Mal, she lights up like a beacon and scares the Volcra away. And a stupefying revelation whisks Alina away from Mal, away from the place she never felt like she truly belonged.

The Characters 

Alina Starkov 
A war orphan, Alina Starkov is not an exceptional female lead. She’s not strong – she’s skinny and weak and she’s not even good at her job of map – making. She always lacked. So, how did I grow to like a weak female lead like her?

Correction - She is not weak. She’s stronger than one could imagine. As you keep reading, you’ll come to know what an exceptional girl she is. The reason that I loved this amazing protagonist is because of her growth into a Grisha, her hope, her courage and the discovery of her true self and potential. 

The Darkling 
"The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak."

The Darkling is an enigmatic Grisha. Many people are afraid of him; of what he might do. He terrifies them. The name itself terrifies them. So, he is powerful. He’s second to the king. In fact, some might even say he’s stronger than the king. He is mysterious. He comes and goes in the book stealing my heart in the process. I shall say no more.

Mal is Alina’s best friend since she was a child. They both had lived in a Duke’s orphanage and with Mal by her side, that awful place seemed to be a place filled with fun and fond memories. Mal seemed immature and kind of boring to me at the beginning. Then things changed abruptly and slowly I began to like him. 

Overall, this book took me to a world I had never imagined. It was so different from the general novels I've read. 
I love this book. I admired and adored Alina for being nothing – so – special. I loved Darkling for inexplicable reasons. I slowly liked Mal. I fell in love with their world even though it's not a place you can call paradise. I wish it existed somewhere in our wide world.

Shadow and Bone is one of the best books I've ever read!