Published: June 5, 2012So I read Shadow & Bone and now I guess fantasy is my thing. And you know what? I completely submit myself to it. Because if all fantasy books were like Leigh Bardugo's, I would never read anything else ever again. Seriously, it's like I blinked and 300 pages had flown by. It was so easy to sink into this book and become one entity with it to where nothing else in life matters. I'm just happy that I was sick when I was reading it and had no other obligations.
Henry Holt, hardcover, 358pgs
Goodreads Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
Alina and Mal have been BFFs forever, but of course, she's in love with him. And hey, who could blame a girl? He's a fantastic tracker, he's super sarcastic, and he's so unattainable because Alina is SO PLAIN. (Don't make me sing "you don't know you're beautiful," Alina.) But then, as is typical in YA, we find out Alina has Phenomenal Cosmic Powers, making her the center of attention for multiple sets of greedy eyes--namely The Darkling. The good news is: Alina's plain pity party didn't get on my nerves. In fact, it was awesome seeing her confidence and awareness grow and flourish.
Now listen: I make excellent life choices. I do. But in books, all that is thrown to the wind. I love the Darkling. I love an evil villain who is just needing that one girl in his life to tame him and make him see the light. He is hands down my favorite character in this series. So complex and misguided and wanting to see the error of his ways. Or is he? LEIGH BARDUGO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?
Shadow & Bone is an instant favorite. All the hype is completely merited. It's long enough that I feel I experienced a ton of in-depth battles, romance, politics, magic in just over 350 pages, but it's short enough (and oh, the easy writing style. LOVE!) that I was left wanting more. Immediately. I wanted more action, more of the epic cast of secondary characters, more Darkling/Alina/Mal drama. Shadow & Bone isn't a novel where you'll need to put much brainpower into understanding this or that. The story animates itself and plays out effortlessly and enchantingly.
And OH MY GOD, DreamWorks (see: producer of Harry Potter) is going to be making a movie of this? WHO WILL PLAY THE DARKLING? Can I suggest Ed Westwick? Please?
you can't even tell me i'm wrong.