Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone opens with heroine Alina and her friend Mal being tested to see if they are Grisha – special humans with various magical powers. Both fail the test.
Fast forward to many years later, where Alina and Mal are travelling into the Shadow Fold – a darkness that covers some of the nation of Ravka, filled with horrible man-eating creatures. When Mal is attacked by one of these creatures, Alina discovers that she has a brilliant power stored inside of her, one that might just be able to destroy the Shadow Fold.
But, when the Darkling takes her for Grisha training, Alina is seperated from her childhood friend and thrust into a strange new world, filled with jealous and powerful Grisha who want to be impressed.
I had heard a lot about Shadow and Bone before I bought it so I had high hopes, that were only made higher by the gorgeous and intriguing cover. Thankfully, I was in no way disappointed.
When people claim Leigh Bardugo’s novel is a wonderfully told fantasy story set in a Russian-esque world, they are telling no lies.
Though the beginning may seem a little abrupt, the story very quickly becomes enthralling and action packed. Alina is a wonderful female lead who does not let anything get in her way, and reading her is nothing but pleasurable. The Darkling comes across as a stereotypical heart throb, but it is all just a facade! His big reveal is surprising and I didn’t see it coming at all, which is a refreshing thing to come across in books. Like Alina, I feel drawn to the Darkling ans since he never confirmed those things Baghra said… is there still hope? I wonder.
I can’t speak for how true/untrue/accurate the Russian elements are in the novel, but since it is fantasy I do believe that the author has pretty much free reign, since fantasy is meant to be different from our own world.
I loved the world building in this novel; it was simple but very effective and I am very much excited to read the sequel.