Saturday, July 28, 2012
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.
There was a lot of hype about this book way before it even came out and I was really excited about this book. I saved this book for last when I read all four of the Fierce Reads books. (You know the saying, right? Save the best for last and all.) And lemme tell ya, this one did not let me down at all.
Alina was more of your silent type. She was strong in character and driven by her goals, but she, I thought, was more of a believable heroine in the sense that she wasn't quick with her retorts and all of a sudden has this ninja mojo going on. No, she was not like that. I loved her determination and love for her childhood friend, Mal. Her feelings were true and understandable, which I enjoyed to watch throughout the story.
The Darkling certainly was a dark one. As in dark, I mean mysterious and attractive. I am not Team Darkling at all, but there was a certain charm about him. And to top it all off, he saved Alina's life with his mysterious powers. He had brownie points, but not enough for me.
The story was something so creative and interesting, something I certainly have not seen anywhere in all of the books I have read. It had the same idea where the girl who thinks she is completely average discovers something she never new about herself and this whole adventure begins. For some reason, this storyline usually doesn't bother me as much as it does to others. I prefer to look more at the originality of the plot and the dimensions of the characters. And let me just say that there were a lot of dimensions to the characters. There was growth between the characters and sides of others that I did not expect to see at all. And the story! It was something I have never seen before. I used to be terrified of the dark and in this book, the dark actually is filled with your worst nightmares. There really is something to that idea that I really like and was excited to read about.
The only thing that I didn't like all that much was how fickle Alina's feelings were. Not in the beginning necessarily, but towards the middle and end, I felt as if she became quick to judge. It didn't bother me all that much, but I felt that a little more of an internal battle would have done well, though I'm not sure it would have went well with the rest of the story because you know how the emotions and decisions of the characters affect what they do later on in the book. And I liked how the story went in the end, so I'm not going to complain too much.
In all, this book was great. There was plenty of action and adventure that kept me interested and at the edge of my seat. I couldn't even put it down for a few minutes (I finished it in one day.). I have never read something so dark and mysterious such as this book. It definitely deserved that spot in the Fierce Reads book tour. And I'm very glad that I saved it for last out of the four Fierce Reads books. I can't wait to read what will happen next in the second book, but what I do know is that it will be a great book with even more action and adventure and I'm sure the stakes will be even higher in the next book. All I have to say is that I probably should be more wary of the dark.