Shadow And Bone
Soldier. Summoner. Saint.
Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold―a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite―and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.
Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.
I enjoyed Shadow and Bone to the fullest right from the beginning. The story is told through the eyes of Alina Starkov, a strong female protagonist.
The story takes place in Ravka. A country, divided in half by a strip of darkness and in the darkness lurk ferocious beasts known as Volcra. The Shadow Fold, as it is called, separates East Ravka from its trade routes and ports in West Ravka. The Shadow Fold was created by a Grisha with the power to summon darkness, the Black Heretic; it is said only a Grisha with the power to summon light, Sun Summoner, can destroy the Shadow Fold.
Alina Starkov is a mapmaker in the Army and with her best friend Mal, who is a tracker, are both selected to cross the Shadow Fold. During the perilous journey, Mal is attacked by a Volcra and during a moment of desperation to save him, Alina discovers the ability to summon light.
The story follows Alina as she is accompanied to Os Alta, the capital, and to the Little Palace where Grisha train under the Darkling, a Grisha with the power to summon darkness. There she learns the different classes of Grisha, Materialki, Etherealki and Corporalki. What follows next is a journey through the world of Grisha, filled with twists and turns.
This Shadow and Bone is the first in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse series, but it certainly doesn’t feel so. The setting is clearly described, allowing us to picture Ravka and its capital, Os Alta, at its glory along with the other towns the book introduces us to. The writing style was simple and understandable but nevertheless, magical and fascinating. The characters introduced were particularly riveting to the book itself.
There were no good nor bad characters as they all possessed their own strengths and flaws and opinions respectively. Alina herself is portrayed as a sarcastic girl, with a strong- will, although she lacks the ability to conceal her emotions; the Darkling on the other hand is a mysterious character, who’s true motives and intentions will keep you on the edge of you seat till the final pages. Alina’s new found friend, Genya, is a one of a kind Tailor with the ability to manipulate appearances, but underneath all her beauty lies a broken girl, with her own darkness, this further elevates the depth of Genya and the story itself, as it progresses.
Throughout the Shadow and Bone, we see events through Alina’s eyes, and this makes it easier to grasp the small science behind the Grisha as Alina, herself is just beginning to grasp the concepts of Grisha power and while the magic and lore is compelling without an explanation, once you understand the powers and orders of Grisha, the story begins to fall in place and it almost feels as if the reader herself/himself is living through the events.
I would say the few downsides are that however captivating, the story was not completely original. It does feel like a repeat from other books of the fantasy genre like, Red Queen. I also found the Mal, Alina’s best friend, was one of the characters who did not meet my expectations and I did have a challenge trying to care for him. He was a very plain character, with almost no purpose until we passed the mid-point.
I found myself reminiscing about the characters, setting and plot that all left a heavy impact. This was a gentle fantasy book and was very easy to understand, with a wonderfully perfect mixture of friendship, magic, fantasy and even a hint of dystopian. It is an amazing feeling to read a book and wish to be apart of it, and Shadow and Bone definitely made me crave to be in it. Young adults looking for a simple fantasy, with understandable concepts, would be able to find it in Shadow and Bone. It is a highly enjoyable book with, layered characters, a clear, magical setting and of course, a strong plot that was well written.
Recommended : Young Adult, Fantasy Lovers.
You can purchase Shadow and Bone at:
Review of Siege and Storm, second book of the trilogy: