Hey, readers! Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in the dystopian fantasy trilogy, The Grisha Trilogy. The story follows Alina who in the army with her friend Mal and one day while traveling across the Shadow Fold discovers that she may be a Grisha. The Shadow Fold was created by the Dark Heretic who was a Darkling, which is a Grisha that summons darkness. Moreover, the Shadow Fold is a pitch black wasteland with menacing Volcra who eat those who try to pass through. Alina then needs to determine how she will fit into her new life, and where she fits with the new Darkling. She also needs to decide where she and Mal left off. She realizes that maybe he truly loves her back. This fantasy book was full of exciting elements and awesome characters. I really enjoyed the book, and it was an extremely fast read. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up.
- There was not a lot of world building
In this book, we were just thrown into the world of Ravka, which is a fantasy version of Russia. The land of Ravka and the areas surrounding it are immense, and there are feuds between Ravka and the Fjerda and the Shu Hans. We are not so sure exactly why there is such a rift between these people because there is never any information given about them. Also, with the Grisha, we never learn exactly what they are, or where they come from. They describe their powers as just something you were lucky to be born with, such as being good at math. Despite the lack of building up, this world is fantastic, and I am hoping the next book delves more into the history of the land.
- Alina is surprising heroine
Alina is not your typical heroine, for she is not the most beautiful or strong person in the book. Every YA book that has a female protagonist who has to save the world is beautiful, and all of the men swoon over her. Alina is quite different, she is ostracized by the Grisha because she does not belong in their beautiful circle. Although, like all teenage girls, Alina is insecure in her own skin and this does affect her at times. She is also not physical strong, which makes her the runt of the pack for the majority of the book. I find her extremely strong, and she assumes responsibility exceedingly well in respect to other dystopian heroines, such as Katniss who wanted nothing to do with the resistance at first. Alina is stubborn, but she isn’t obnoxious. She is a well-rounded character who knows how to work hard to achieve her goals.
- The Darkling is the best villain
The Darkling is devilishly good. He is the perfect bad boy, and I have to admit I swooned a little at the beginning of the book. He is so calculated and sinister but has a part of him that makes him more than that. He is power hungry, but he knows how to hide it. He is also charming and can make people feel special. Now that I think about it… I am describing a sociopath. Well, I don’t want to over glorify this terrible killer, but I have to admit… You love to hate him.
- There is a lot of emphasis on looks in this book
The one thing I didn’t like the most was the emphasis of being beautiful in this book. The Grisha were all disgustingly beautiful, and they looked down upon those who were unfortunate enough to be born a normal Ravkan. Genya, whose Grisha power is basically that of a skilled cosmetologist, is absolutely beautiful and not at all modest. However, she is more than that. She befriends Alina and does not judge her like the other Grisha. Genya also falls in love with geeky Grisha, David. Bardugo does give her beautiful characters more than just beauty, however, I felt that she put too much emphasis on the correlation between self-worth and beauty.
- I enjoyed Bardugo’s writing style
Bardugo knows how to write a page-turner. I was able to read this book in about two days. The suspense was perfect. Although, there was not a lot of action, the book was never boring. There were no epic fight scenes that took place, but there were aspects of the book that were just as exciting as a fight scene. Her writing is very detailed, and her descriptions of the palaces were immaculate. She also encapsulated all of the Grisha’s powers and wove them throughout the characters and their development. However, at times Bardugo was a little too descriptive and acted as though her audience was clueless. Some of her passages could be a lot stronger if she would have cut out a sentence that seemed like overkill. Overall though, this book was amazing.
Read ya later!