Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Summary: As a child, Alina was tested to be one of the Grisha. No magical ability was found within her. While on a trip across the fold—a giant territory cloaked in darkness that houses murderous beasts—Alina discovers that perhaps the people who tested her as a child were wrong. She possesses the rare ability of a Sun Summoner: one who can bring light. The kingdom is jubilant, because only a Sun Summoner has the power to be able to erase the darkness that plagues the fold. But before she can attempt anything of the sort, Alina must learn to harness her powers.
My thoughts: If you have a craving for a solid fantasy read, Shadow and Bone has you covered and them some. Leigh Bardugo’s historic Russian setting is positively gorgeous, and the supernatural elements only add to its ingenuity. It’s difficult to explain in words just how much I loved the setting of Shadow and Bone. From the very first chapter, I knew this was a world I wanted to spend time in—and I held this opinion throughout the whole novel. Bardugo’s attention to detail and myth is just astounding.
But a setting and history is just the framework for a book, right? Let’s talk about the characters. In particular, let’s talk about the Darkling. He’s not the protagonist, but he’s definitely the most interesting character in the story. In Shadow and Bone, the Darkling has an affect on people—something draws them toward him. Bardugo does the same thing to her readers: I couldn’t stop thinking about this mysterious character and his evolution over the course of the story. The Darkling is far from a hero, but we get to know enough of him to kind of sympathize. When an author can get you to like a bad guy, you know she’s got talent!
The good guys aren’t anything to complain about, either. Alina is a fierce girl, and seeing the story play out through her eyes is great. Her soft spot for a childhood friend is easily her most endearing quality; the loyalty she has to her makeshift family is positively heartwarming. Second to that comes her loyalty to herself—she doesn’t let the Grisha change who she is, which is testament to how great a person she is. After reading Shadow and Bone, I don’t know who wouldn’t want to be friends with Alina.
If the setting and story don’t sound tempting enough, there’s a sweet romance buried beneath the adventure. Clearly, Shadow and Bone is a winner on all fronts. Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel is easily one of the best fantasy books you’ll read this summer. As a die-hard fantasy fan, I wholeheartedly recommend Shadow and Bone. Two thumbs way up for this one!
For those who like: fantasy, magic, adventure
Source: received from publisher for review. Thanks!