Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. (source)
SPOILER FREE REVIEW
I enjoyed this book a lot. I am still not 100% sure about the rating because I have nothing to complain about, it’s just I don’t think I could give it 5 stars so consider it a 4.5-4.75.
Alina- She is our main character. I think she was really strong, sassy and a great perspective to read from. As a child she is not important, she is not Grisha (the high class of Ravka, people with super powers-see world building). One day, as she prepares to cross this dangerous place (you’ll have to read to find out) she discovers she has a power that makes her far more important than the usual Grisha. From that point on you will see big character development.
Mal- Mal is Alina’s best friend since childhood (and crush..) but when she has to go to train with the Grisha, Mal and her get separated. Mal as a character is really nice. He cares a lot for Alina, he is kind, smart, brave and the best spy you could wish for. I think I would’ve really liked him if I didn’t ship Alina and The Darkling.
The Darkling- How can I talk about him? He’s the most powerful Grisha and their master, commander. He’s cold, distant, powerful and interesting. I love him. He is such an amazing character, I think you’re supposed to have a love-hate relationship with him.. but I only love him. I won’t say much about him. Just read the book.
Genya- She’s SO cool! Imagine a makeup artist living in a magical world in Russia. That’s Genya for the Grisha.. kind of. She becomes Alina’s friend during her hard times.
At first you’re just being thrown into the world which some people can love and others can hate. I loved that. You learn more about the Grisha as Alina does, during the book. It’s very useful that there’s a map and something about the Grisha orders at the beginning of the book. That helps a lot.
I think Leigh did an awesome job imagining this amazing and complex world. I will try to explain a bit of it but if you want to go into the book blind just skip this part.
Basically there’s 3 Grisha orders:
Corporalki- The Order of the Living and the Dead ( Heartrenders, Healers). The Corporalki are considered the most valuable soldiers, and consequently, they are the highest ranking Grisha. A Corporalki Heartrender can snatch the air from your lungs, slow your pulse until you drop into a coma, or literally crush your heart in your chest—all without ever laying a finger on you. Healers put you right again.
Etherealki- The Order of Summoners (Squallers, Inferners, Tidemakers). Grisha cannot create or animate matter. Inferni don’t “magically” create fire. They summon combustible gases like methane or hydrogen, but still need a flint to start a spark. Squallers can raise or lower air pressure to create storms, while Tidemakers use temperature and pressure to summon and control water. Etherealki frequently work in pairs.
Materialki- The Order of Fabrikators (Durasts, Alkemi). These are the lab geeks of the Grisha Orders. They’re the least respected, but they’ll become more valuable to the war effort as the trilogy progresses. Durasts deal in the solid: Grisha steel, corecloth (similar to modern body armor), textiles, and glass. Alkemi specialize in poisons and blasting powders.
All the things about the orders are from here.
The plot was fast-paced. At first it took a while to get into the story and understand everything, 30 something pages. Once Alina discovers her power and goes with the Darkling everything gets way better, I promise.
There is this HUGE plot twist. I felt my heart hurting when I read one freaking line. This book plays with your feels. Believe me when I say so.
As you know, I always write some quotes that don’t give anything away so you can see if this is your kind of book.
“It’s probably for the best, I told myself. How would I have said goodbye to Mal anyway? Thanks for being my best friend and making my life bearable. Oh, and sorry I fell in love with you for a while there. Make sure to write!
‘What are you smiling at?’
I whirled, peering into the gloom. The Darkling’s voice seemed to float out of the shadows. He walked down to the stream, crouching on the bank to splash water on his face and through his dark hair.
‘Well?’ he asked, looking up at me.
‘Myself,’ I admitted.
‘Are you that funny?’
“The Darkling slumped back in his chair. “Fine,” he said with a weary shrug. “Make me your villain.”
„I’m not used to people trying to kill me.”
„Really? I hardly notice anymore.”
“So I’m the Darkling’s prisoner?”
„You’re under his protection.”
„What’s the difference?”
„Pray you never find out.”
“Why can a Grisha possess but one amplifier? I will answer this question instead: What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”
“Too much champagne?”
“Silly girl,” she said, looping her arm through mine. “There’s no such thing as too much champagne. Though your head will try to tell you otherwise tomorrow.”
“The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak”
This is it for my spoiler free review! I hope you will pick up this book because it’s an amazing and thrilling read!
SPOILER FILLED GUSH
WHAT? I cannot accept the fact that The Darkling is the black heretic and I do not believe such things! I cannot accept the fact that The Darkling is evil and I will not accept it.
And Alina and Mal? Alone, in another country? Okay, Mal is good and he loves Alina. Okay, Alina loves Mal. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DARKLING? Alina and him were so amazing togheter!!!!!!!!
This part is not a review, this is a gush about my feelings and The Darkling.
I’m so excited for the next book! But scared. What if The Darkling really is evil? Okay from the ending of the book he is evil. But maybe he wasn’t! Maybe he had to lie or something! Please tell me I am right!
“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, „is that it makes us weak.”
YES. NOW, THAT IS A GOOD QUOTE. GO DARKLING!!!!!! By the way, will we find out his name? He would make a good Alexander or Nikolai.. right? That’s what I’m thinking.
I’ll let you know more about my feels in my next review, for Siege and Storm, which I’m reading (buddy reading) this month.
Until next time!
P.S. I TOOK THE TEST „WHICH GRISHA ORDER DO YOU BELONG TO?” AND I’M THE DARKLING!!!!!