Friday, August 24, 2012

SHADOW AND BONE


Review of SHADOW AND BONE by LEIGH BARDUGO
(first in the GRISHA trilogy, review based on an advance reading copy)

Read this book!! I wouldn't have read it if someone hadn't told me that, so now I'm telling you: read this book!! In all honesty, the blurb didn't appeal me, but then someone whose opinion I trust suggested I try it. The story grabbed me in the prologue and its hold only grew stronger. Even after I finished, that world kept sneaking back into my thoughts.

Right from the start, I noted the writing: distinct, sharp, flavorful. The premise, in my own words, follows a war-torn country that cannot distribute weapons and resources because of what they call the fold, a large patch of pure darkness cutting across their land and filled with terrible, vicious monsters. However, that's not what's incredible about this story. That would be Alina, our protagonist. Her voice won me over almost immediately and I found her an utterly endearing and relatable twist on the somewhat cliché "teenager with unexpected magical potential that could save the world" concept.

The story took full control of my emotions and pulled me high and low as I followed Alina's struggles. She's thrust suddenly into a world she doesn't understand and doesn't entirely trust and lives in fear that she can't live up to everyone's rather ridiculous expectations. She's surrounded by a varied and layered cast of characters and yet she's alone, since every character buzzes with conceivable betrayal. Her lifetime best friend Mal hasn't responded to her letters, which could mean he's in danger or he's a jerk who no longer wants anything to do with her. The Darkling, second in rank only to the king (and that order’s debatable), makes himself an enigma by saying very little, but still says and does just enough to leave Alina and the reader completely baffled about whether or not he's trustworthy. Even her teacher and her Grisha friends might see her as much as a magic vessel vital for their land's survival as an individual with her own wants and needs. 

There's only one flaw: the second book isn't out yet! Writing something this good and making readers wait for the rest might be a literary sin!

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I tend to be very cynical of the young adult fantasy genre, but you've certainly made this book sound like it stands out from the pack. I'm adding it to my to-read list now!

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