Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Grisha #1
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Source: Raincoast Books & Macmillan (Thank you so much!)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon CA | The Book Depository | Chapters
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.
(summary taken from Goodreads)MY THOUGHTS:
There's no doubt in my mind that this will end up being one of the BEST books of the entire year! Best world, best heroine, best writing, best romance... There are just so many breathtaking things in this book, I can't believe I ever had a doubt!
Shadow and Bone is high fantasy at its best. (There's that word again!) The world-building of Ravka is flawless. It makes you believe and fear the terrible Shadow Fold that splits it in two, with its ravenous monsters, but there's never an overwhelming dump of information. It's always showing not telling, captivating not repelling, and kind of perfect — which I don't say for high fantasy very often (or at all)!
Alina — smart, strong, vulnerable Alina — is one of my favourite heroines ever! She's not blindingly beautiful or perfect with her new found ability at first; she doesn't always know the right thing to say or the right people to trust. But she's one of the most REAL characters I've ever met, and she grows, learns, and loses so much that I almost wish I didn't care about her like I do so it wouldn't hurt as much. But of course, with Alina, that's impossible!
And I loved the rest of the cast too — especially the Darkling, who seriously brings a new definition to the word mysterious, and Mal, for never giving up on Alina and always being the sweetest best friend ever! ♥ The romance is really a spoiler on its own, but I promise it's not your average best-friends-plus-one romance. I adored it so much!
Also, I can't even say whether or not I expected the big twist near the end because I was so enamoured by the everything that I didn't pause a second to make any guesses!
With some of the best writing and most brilliant worlds ever, Shadow and Bone will undoubtedly be topping people's favourites lists everywhere. I can honestly say that it's my favourite high fantasy book of all time... and that's coming from a fantasy-loving girl. ;)
BUY or BORROW?: You will buy this book and love it and be at Leigh Bardugo's feet with me, begging to read the sequel! This is an absolute MUST, and I can't even stress how buy-worthy it is enough! (Want a reminder? Count the number of times I used "best" in this review!)