Alina and Mal have been best friends since they showed up as orphans on the same doorstep as children. Mal is everything Alina is not. He is confident, charismatic, and skilled. Alina...not so much. At least, that’s what she thinks. When their military troop is attacked crossing the Shadow Fold, Alina looks deep within herself to protect Mal and something incredible happens. She becomes light. Something that the Grisha had thought would never happen. Something that makes no sense to Alina and certainly no sense to anyone else.
After getting swept up by the Grisha and the Darkling (who is like the Grisha HBIC but a dude), Alina is off to train to become a Grisha. Which sounds like it would be super cool, if not for the fact that she has NO idea how to channel her power, she misses Mal like crazy (and maybe finally admits she kinda like likes him), and she thinks maybe the Darkling is flirting with her? You know, the immensely powerful and living through multiple lifetimes (Dalai Lama/Avatar Aang style) Darkling? NO BIG DEAL.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo marks the beginning of a trilogy rich with magic, Russian influence, and lots of feels. Alina is a solid main character who has a whole world dumped on her shoulders and doesn’t feel worthy of the task. We’re with her as she struggles to find her place among the Grisha and find confidence in herself. And of course a little love triangle/swoony times on the side doesn’t hurt the book either...
I’ve heard lots of raves about this book from the likes of my blogger friends such as Heidi, Kristi, Amy and April. Yeah, how’s THAT for some praise? Naturally, they were right. I was immediately swept away into Shadow and Bone thanks to Leigh Bardugo’s world building. I loved the Russian influence and of COURSE I always love anything to do with magic and fantasy and dark creatures so that was fantastic.
If you’re looking for a YA fantasy that has solid relationships, rich world building, a strong female lead and a diverse supporting cast, give Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo a shot. I think you’ll become engrossed in Alina’s story and start casting your lots pretty quick!
Fave quote: "I wasn't nervous or frightened. I wasn't anything anymore." (335)
Pairs well with: Something about the richness of this book and the cold climate made me want hot chocolate the entire time I was reading it.
Fix er up: In the spirit of avoiding spoilers, I have many questions about the final resolution with the Darkling. Mainly that I do not agree with what I THINK happened and need someone to tell me that what I WANT to have happened be true. Sorry for being vague - but NOT sorry for avoiding spoilers!
[FTC Notice: I was not compensated in any way for this review. Clicking through on links does not provide any financial benefit for me.]