Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Series: The Grisha Trilogy, book one
About the Book: 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.
My Thoughts: This is a book you will hear me talking about a lot. I've been telling everybody I know who has a copy to read it ASAP. I loved it so, so, so much! For real.
I'm sitting here at my computer and I have no idea which awesome aspect of the story I should start telling you about first. There were so many things I loved. I realize that if I went in to depth about everything you would stop reading because it would be SO LONG! Instead here are some highlights. You can read whatever appeals to you :) Also I need a thesaurus because I just loved everything and I kept wanting to say it was super awesome/fascinating/interesting/intriguing/I loved, I loved, I loved, I loved, I loved!
They book itself:. The cover is gorgeous. I love the Russian-esque building, the colors, the shading, and the font! Throughout the book there are really beautiful fonts used at the beginning of chapters or breaks in the story. Each chapter also has gorgeous embellishments. It's all just so pretty and adds to the feel of the story!
The World: I was really impressed by the world building in Shadow and Bone. The reader really got to know about Ravka and its surroundings. I don't mean just the geography either (Although there is a map!) I felt like I got to know much of the history and beliefs that went in to making the people of Ravka who they are and the rules of the world what they are. As a bonus? Russian geography, folklore, and culture were used as the basis for Ravka. Leigh has a video of images that inspired the creation of Ravka on her website!
Words and language: The Russian language also has an influence in the book. Leigh took liberties with it and changed the words so that they sound like she wanted them to (this is a fictional world after al!) and I LOVED it! Again, it really added to the feel of the story and enhanced the mystery and magic. Check out Leigh's guide on how to speak Ravkan to see what I mean :)
Grisha: Coolest. Ever. I mean, the "magical elite"? How can you not love that! The lore and the different divisions of the Grisha were fascinating to me. I Couldn't get enough of them. I would totally read, "The Grisha, a History" if it existed! I think the fact that I was learning more about Grisha as Alina was made it even more intriging. Also, the division between the Grisha and the soldiers was super interesting as well. The whole First Army/Second Army division... loved it.
Alina: This girl rocks. Seriously. I could write a whole post about how awesome I think she is. Don't worry, I won't here. It would be too spoilery! I will say this... Alina's whole world is shaken. She is whisked from being an unknown traveling with the First Army to being a curiosity at court (sidenote: The court! AHHH! So much love!) Following along as she discovers who she is and her place in the world around her really kept me reading.
The Darkling: Yeah... THE DARKLING! Once you read the book you'll know why it's in all caps. For now check out this post from Jennifer Rush (her book Altered is coming from Little, Brown in Fall.) He is definitely the bad boy to end all bad boys!
Mal: Oh Mal. I couldn't forget him! He's been Alina's friend since childhood but he is not the boy next door. I liked the little ways that we got to know more about him. Since Alina has known him so long (and we get the story from her) it felt like more of a treat to learn about him. Totally crush-worthy.
Before/After: There is a "Before" section and an "After" section. These pages bookend Alina's telling of the story. They give the book more of a storyteller feel. They also blew me away. In my notes I literally wrote: "Before" = O_O So good!!!
Shadow and Bone captured me from the get go. I wanted to know more and more and more about the world and the characters that Leigh Bardugo has created. I was totally engrossed in the romance, the mystery, and the adventure. This is a series that has skyrocketed to the top of my "most anticipated" list!
Add it to your wish list RIGHT NOW!!! Actually, you should totally pre-order it from Books of Wonder. The first two hundred people get a signed copy, a super awesome map of Ravka, and a pin! Also, you're supporting a super cool independent book store :) Check out Leigh's blog for more information or go straight to the order page for Book of Wonder.
I met Leigh at a pre-pub event sponsored by Anderson's and Macmillan. It was SUPER AWESOME! Thanks again to everyone who made it possible.
|Dude. Leigh is so much fun!|