The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
There's something to be said for a book that exceeds your expectations, when the bar was set pretty high to begin with. In a world where ideas are so often repeated for the lack of new creativity, it is very refreshing to come across something purely original. The main character in the book is a girl named Alina, and I can't begin to express how complex a character she is. She was unsure, she had regrets, and she hadn't really found the niche to where she belonged. She felt normal, somehow relatable in such vastly different worlds. Sure she had Mal, her handsome best friend from childhood, but even though he was the person who knew her the best out of anyone, there was still a barrier between them. One that had grown over time as they grew up, whilst he blossomed and she continued to grow more emotionally closed off. It's apparent that Alina does have feelings for Mal, but they are not the front and center conflict in the book. There were many points in the story where the author could have turned off down a road long traveled by many authors before her, but she surprised me and stayed away from the clichés. Really anything could happen. In some books you think the author won't kill off a certain character, because they are vital to the story and readers would revolt, but with Leigh Bardugo, I didn't have this certainty. I was truly in her world and she was going to take me where this story was meant to go, whether I liked the outcome or not. Shadow and Bone is a beautifully haunting story and has really gotten me to think about the choices we make in life. I've come out of reading this book with a somewhat different way of looking at things. I can picture myself as Alina in the fold, and ask myself whether or not I would make the same decisions she had. Alina is stronger than most people, whether they be in real life or fictional. She has the center of mind to really believe in something, to really believe in someone. As for what those things are, you'll just have to read the book to find out.
Content: 5 stars
Writing Quality: 4 stars