Publication Date: June 5, 2012Review: After hearing so much praise for this book, I tried my best to lower my expectations. After all, I didn't want to end up being disappointed. However, after reading the first three chapters of this book, I knew that I was hooked completely.
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Page Count: 358
Synopsis: 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.
Alina is the main character and for the most part, I loved her. She had a stubbornness and a loneliness that were very relatable. I connected with her very well and found her admirable. The secondary characters felt flat to me, though. The character that stood out to me was the Darkling. I found him the most intriguing. He was so complex and interesting, I found myself getting more excited when he was in a scene.
The writing was very plain and sometimes felt dry to me. The writing wasn't particularly noteworthy, but Leigh Bardugo certainly writes compellingly. She knows how to keep the plot moving quickly and the reader entertained. There were times when I'd feel that there wasn't much happening, but that feeling never lasted very long. There were many twists in the plot that I didn't see coming.
The romance was just crazy. I had heard so much about the Darkling before reading the book myself, so I was so surprised when I realized that I liked his character. He had a certain charm to him that I was drawn to. For those who've read this book, you probably know why that didn't last. As for Mal, at first I didn't like him. But then, gradually, I became more and more fond of him, as he showed more of himself to Alina.
Shadow and Bone is an impressive debut that stands out with its likable protagonist, original love story, and unique plot line.
I'm seriously so torn between 4 and 4.5 keys. I can't decide! Maybe 4.25 keys?