Monday, 13 May 2013
Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Released: May 17th, 2012
Originally published as The Gathering Dark. The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka. Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom's magical elite - the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free? The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him. But what of Mal, Alina's childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can't she ever quite forget him? Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
I've had a copy of Shadow and Bone (formerly known as The Gathering Dark) since last year but, because of all the hype surrounding it, I didn't feel like reading it until now. I finally read it last week and really enjoyed it. It's exactly the kind of fast-paced, exciting book I was looking for and I'm glad I can now join the Grisha fan ranks!
Shadow and Bone is so well written and richly imagined, and I was immediately lost in the world of the Grisha. From the descriptions of towns and various locations to how the Grisha dress, nothing was left unturned and Leigh Bardugo really made me feel like I was there with Alina and Mal. The plot loved quickly and before I knew it I was turning page after page as fast possible, racing to the end to find out what would happen. I haven't felt the need to do that for a while!
Alina is exactly the kind of female character I like to read about: she's strong willed, sure of herself and fiercely loyal to the people she loves. Her friendship with Mal is a strong part of her story right from the beginning, and the way they are together shows just how deep their friendship runs. They are each other's family, and no-one can take that away from them. Not even the Darkling. Without spoiling anything, I have to say that the Darkling is an acquired taste. I never particularly liked him, and I still don't, though I am intrigued to find out what happens to him in book two, Siege and Storm.
Shadow and Bone is YA fantasy exactly how I like it: deep, epic and full of action and adventure. I fell in love with the story when I was only a few chapters in, and the many twists and turns that followed kept me hooked right until the end. I'm really glad I read this book and I'm even more glad that I have the sequel sat waiting for me. I have no idea where Leigh Bardugo is going with her story, but I can't wait to find out. Read this if you're a fan of fantasy - you won't be disappointed!