Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Page Count: 356
Alina Starkov and her best friend Malyen Oretsev grew up together as orphans. Alina is now a mapmaker and Mal is tracker. As they are attempting to pass over the Shadow Fold, a dark place swarming with evil creatures called Volcra, Mal gets hurt and Alina saves him with a light power she never knew she had. Now, the Darkling, who leads the Grisha, has his eyes on her and wants to have her trained so she can control her power and destroy the Shadow Fold. Alina will learn to grow strong physically and with her power but she must also beware that not everyone is telling her the truth and that some people are trying to manipulate her.
I was not enjoying this book until about 70% through it. I was bored and I did not understand the hype surrounding it. But the ending was definitely good and has me wanting to read the next one immediately. The Grisha world sounds so magical and something you would read in a dark fairy tale. Alina is incredible! I absolutely love her character growth through this novel. She goes from being a nobody with no real skill, except for map making, to a strong kick-butt female! Now, the Darkling was someone that I LOVED almost immediately. I really enjoy a dark male character and he had all of the characteristics that I love reading about. Mal, wasn’t a character that I was too interested in until the last 30% of the book and I hope he has more potential in the next two books.
Reading about all of the different Grisha powers was so fascinating to me. I love that there are so many different ones. Especially Genya, who is the Queen’s assistant but the Darkling assigns her to help Alina with her looks. Genya does Alina’s makeup and hair and her powers sounds so incredible, even if she is just a maid of sorts. Alina and Genya’s friendship is something that I enjoyed a lot in this story. We don’t see a lot of female friendships in stories like these and it was refreshing.
I would highly recommend this book if you are a fan of dark fairy tale fantasy reads. It was pretty boring to me though more than the first half but if you can manage to get through that, the ending is a great payoff.