Friday, 15 November 2013

Review - Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

 Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

 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?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Amazon UK

As I love immersive, original fantasy, I had a feeling this book would be right up my alley. And I was right! Shadow and Bone is set in a unique and fascinating world in which a young girl discovers she harbours power she never knew about. Along with her best friend, Mal, Alina grew up an orphan in the Kingdom of Ravka, where those with magic, the Grisha, are the elite. Their nation is divided by a stretch of darkness known as the Shadow Fold, inhabited by volcra, vicious creatures that eat humans. But when passing through the Shadow Fold, Alina somehow saves everyone from a volcra attack using a strange light. It’s revealed that she has a power no one else does, the ability to summon the sun – and this makes her a target.

Alina is taken into the capital to train with the other Grisha. I loved learning about the Grisha and their different abilities, which vary from wielding elements to altering a person’s appearance, to the skills possessed only by the Darkling himself. The Darkling is the enigmatic leader, the most powerful Grisha, and to Alina, is both seductive and sinister. He offers an alternative to the comfort of her former life with Mal – but then secrets come to light that shatter everything she knows.

The plot is superb, with just the right amount of world-building and intrigue combined with jaw-dropping twists and revelations. Alina is a great protagonist, strong-willed and loyal. Her confusion at her situation is understandable, as are her struggles to fit in with the Grisha and to master her strange new talents. She changes and grows within the novel and learns to face her true nature. The other characters are as fascinating and complex as the world, and the story had me hooked to the last page. Five stars!

Rating: *****

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