Alyssa's Reviews > Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
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Jan 24, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, fantasy, romance, best-heroines
Read on June 28, 2012

All of the praise this book has been getting is well deserved. I went into this book with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. Admittedly, I did not see what all the hype was about during the first half of the book. Once I passed the fifty-percent mark, I could finally see the reason for all the five-stars and was unable to put the book down until I had finished the remainder.

Shadow and Bone is an amazing novel set in a world where magic exists. Magic users are known as Grisha, each with their own special ability. They live glamorous lives in the royal palace, working for nobility, or serving as high ranking commanders in the military. The most powerful of all the Grisha is the Darkling, a mysterious and handsome figure who takes an interest in the protagonist Alina.

Alina is an orphan who was, as a child, taken in by an orphanage run by a nobleman. She grew up alongside her friend Mal, and the two have been inseparable since meeting. They even joined the military together -- Mal as a tracker, Alina as a mapmaker. However, when they are sent into the Fold, a dark place full of monsters known as volcra, Alina saves Mal from becoming Volcra-food. She is discovered to be a Sun Summoner, and the kingdom's only hope for closing the Fold.

Swept away to the palace by the Darkling and his guard, Alina is trained in the ways of the Grisha. Although she doubts her newly discovered abilities, she tries her best to adjust to the Grisha lifestyle and the absence of Mal. She trains hard to become the savior the people have been hoping for, but sinister plots are afoot.

Alina is an amazing heroine. She is strong and loyal, but she is also kind and merciful -- to an extent. She says her mind and stands up for what she believes to be right.

One reviewer, Steph Su, pointed out something that I was a bit bothered by. Beauty seemed like a prevalent theme in this book. All of the Grisha were beautiful. The queen was beautiful. The main character did not feel as if she could fit in at the palace because she didn't see herself as beautiful. But, to be honest, I could see the need to convey the shallow and vapid world of court life. At the same time, I could also see that there was a darkness associated with beauty -- particularly with Alina's friend, the Grisha Genya, who served as a beautician for the Queen.

I enjoyed this story immensely, and will definitely be anticipating the next installment in the trilogy.
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