Morning mortals! I am gradually working my way through the backlog of Leigh Bardugo novels on my bookshelf, an author I have found myself falling for even more with every book I read. I am delighted to announce that Shadow and Bone only adds to that process.
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 fulfil 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?
Where to start with this one? Well firstly it is nowhere near as long as Six of Crows. Don’t read that the wrong way, I’m all for a weighty tome, but it’s nice to have a quicker read every now and then. What I appreciate is you don’t feel like any of the plot has been compromised for the sake of length. There are some books that feel like they are missing half the information you need, others where they bore you with endless description (yes I’m still bitter about Those Above). This, by contrast, felt like a happy medium, the perfect length for what it needed to achieve.
Character-wise I was sold. I couldn’t help but be reminded of those many YA novels where someone ‘discovers a unique power’ and how it is so often SUCH a cliché.* In this case it never feels that way. Certainly there are a lot of aspects to this book that you can find in many a YA fantasy novel. However, in the unique world Bardugo creates they somehow don’t feel as irritating.
*For an interesting take on the ‘strong female character’ cliché you can check out the blog tour for Firestorm that was up earlier in December.
It was interesting to have read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom before reading this book. Obviously I already had a handle on the basics of the magic system in this world. However, seeing it from another perspective is a wonderful way of fleshing out your worldbuilding. I’m impressed that Bardugo has managed to write a set of books in the same universe where it wouldn’t matter in which order you read them. They certainly enhance one another but you’re not missing anything by reading them in a non-specific order. It’s kind of like Discworld in that sense – though who could compare to Discworld?
I loved the characters, I was obsessed with the story, I wanted to know more but I wasn’t left feeling unsatisfied. I’m looking to add to my Leigh Bardugo shelf with the rest of the titles in this series (right after I finish Wonder Woman: Warbringer).
My rating: 5/5 stars
I bought this book myself, all opinions are my own, I was also sent a digital copy to review after the fact.
What say you? Is this one of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!