Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
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. (goodreads.com)
I’m on a fantasy kick, so that poor little Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult just isn’t getting read. I am now scouring my shelves (aka: piles of books all over my house because I don’t actually have shelves) for all my fantasy-esque books because that’s what I want to read RIGHT NOW.
I was gifted Shadow and Bone recently (thank you!) and it was a tasty fantasy treat. I’m used to reading fantasy worlds based on celtic-type ideas, so a fantasy world with a Russian flavour was intriguing to me. It’s nice to read something a little out of the ordinary once in a while, at least outside of my comfort zone.
I’ve seen mixed reviews of this book out there on the internet, but I have to say that I truly did enjoy this story. I liked the idea of the different Grisha and the way they distinguished themselves by the colour robe they wore. At least, I think keftas are robes? Maybe jackets? I was picturing robes, so I’ll go with that.
There were a few times I thought I might get annoyed by potential stereotypical YA plot lines – the potential love triangle, the potential “I’m so plain and everyone else is so beautiful” complaint, but both times I was surprised by how what I thought was going to happen fizzled out. Alina’s few comments about her appearance came off as just regular insecurity and it turns out that there was something to the whole issue the entire time.
I even liked the Darkling. He wasn’t too mysterious and broody (so many males ARE in YA these days. Geez. Get some therapy and Prozac already). I was sort of thrown by the way that story line went and I think I was upset about it. I’m on the fence. I liked that I was surprised but I was mad at the characters. heh
Overall, I think this was a pretty good debut fantasy book in the YA category. I have said this many times before – there just isn’t enough fantasy in YA. There is way too much paranornal/urban fantasy stuff these days, and as much as I like to think that there can be magic and creatures alive in our own world, there’s nothing I love more than to escape to a totally new world where people travel by horse, eat hunks of bread and cheese and are just totally removed from the world as we know it.
I will certainly be picking up the second book in this trilogy when it comes out next year! I can’t wait for more fantasy in my life!
(Unrelated: I am so abysmally behind in my reading challenges. I got this book in under the wire to finish in June, making it my 5th book read that month BUT in August last year I’d hit my 100th book mark! I’m only at 52 so far for 2012! I’m quite ashamed of myself. I just can’t seem to find that reading groove this year. Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on myself to read? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m sure I won’t meet my goal by the end of 2012. Who knows?)
The Grisha Trilogy
- Blood and Shadow
- Seige and Storm – 2013
- Ruin and Rising – 2014