Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she can only count on her best friend, and inconvenient crush, Mal. Then one day, their army enters the Fold- a swath of unnatural darkness infested with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina awakens a dormant power that she never knew existed. Alina is then whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina by his side, the Darkling believes he can finally dispose of the Fold. Now Alina is faced with the tasks of mastering her new gift and adjusting to her new life without Mal. But nothing in this opulent world is as it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart-and her country-in two.
One of the aspects that absolutely thrilled me about this book was that it is set in Russia! This completely new reality is described with many heart-breaking and heart-warming details. The Grisha are an amazing and new magical entity added into the world of fiction. The different factions and groups within the Grisha were fascinating! I wanted to know all about their myriad of powers and traditions. The different colors of coats and specific sleeves used for each group reminded me of Avatar- the last airbender just a little bit :).
Alina really made the book for me though. She was a kick butt and take names later kind of girl! She didn’t wallow in self pity or fear for an insurmountable amount of time. Her reactions to her new life at the court were realistic and believable. And thank goodness for that! Because of her normal reactions I was able to connect with her better as a character. Now, for the juicy part! Her relationship with the Darkling was VERY interesting. I must admit I was a little thrown when I got towards the end of the book. Alina’s inner struggle between the two men, Mal an the Darkling, wasn’t completely frustrating. She either stuck with one or the other. If I had to describe the Darkling in one word it would be: dashing. With his dark looks and enticing personality I can’t blame Alina for finding him absolutely alluring! He truly sung the Music of the Night (Phantom of the Opera allusion, I couldn’t help myself 😀 ).
The only aspect that made me wig out about the book was that the ending was kind of abrupt. I didn’t get that feeling of completeness when I got to the end, or even a feeling of OH MY GOSH. It was more like a fire work show with a little fizzled out sparkler at the end. But, I am anxiously awaiting the second book of the trilogy! I need to see Alina and her man make it out of this next situation they have landed themselves in! And I highly suggest reading Shadow and Bone before the movie comes out! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we have another book turned movie in our hands. Now I’m caught in another “waiting for the next book” cycle, I wholly blame it on the books.
You can purchase Shadow and Bone on Amazon or any Barnes and Nobles. Happy reading my fellow book lovers!