Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Shadow and Bone Review: Alina
Book: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leugh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha
Standing: Book 1
POV: 1st person by Alina, past tense
Genre: YA high fantasy
Source: Physical copy
Release: July 5th 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Rating: 5 Stars
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.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
I'm kicking myself for not starting this series earlier! It had everything I love in a good fantasy: magic, semi-corrupted hierarchy, monsters, adventure, romance, and perfect pacing. So. Good!
Alina Starkov is an orphan with her best friend, Mal. But one trip to the Shadow Fold, which is sort of like a long strip of land that is shrouded in darkness and has monsters lurking in them, changes everything, as she reveals a power no one has ever seen. Next thing she knows, she's being taken against her will to train as a Grisha, in hopes that she can use her powers to eliminate the Shadow Fold for good. Needless to say, things don't exactly go as planned...
Alina was fantastic. She was witty and snarky, and learns to believe in both herself and her unknown power. Her character arc was one of an ignorant and snarky girl who reluctantly does as she's told, to one who questions appearances and makes choices defy others for herself. Alina learns belonging to someone as a mean to ease the feeling of belonging isn't always a good thing, especially if it comes with unsaid consequences...
Alina's power is something I haven't read before. I won't spoil it, but let's just say that when you think about it, it's pretty neat. I wasn't too sure about it at first, as we didn't get that big of an in-depth explanation of exactly how it works, but after a while, I liked it. Also, those gloves she has with those mirrors? Pretty awesome.
The Darkling. Oh, the Darkling. Where to begin? He's powerful. Mysterious. Perhaps a bit troubled, tormented, a bit crazy sometimes, but all that is masked up. He's definitely a very complex character, and I find him both fascinating and infuriating. I understand his motives, I do. But...I question his methods sometimes. Is he going a little too far? That's to be deliberated. I really want to know more about him, want to understand what's going on in that mind of his. Because to be honest...who doesn't love a dark, powerful, and mysterious guy? I think I love him and I think I hate him. I'm not sure. But I'm certainly intrigued...
The Grisha are a group of people who possess magical abilities. They're divided into groups: Corporalki (people who can kill or heal), Etherealki (people with elemental powers), and Materialki (people with textile/material powers). And everyone gets specific colours, depending on which group you're in, and what sub-power you have (ex controlling water, fire, or wind). That's a pretty awesome system, and it's explained really well without it seeming overwhelming.
The world itself was vast and rich, with bits of Russian culture peeking out. I definitely enjoyed learning new words, seeing new kinds of foods and environments. To be honest, I sort of want to my own kefta to wear now. It sounds so cool! Though I'm not sure what colour it would be, as I'm not sure what kind of Grisha I would want to be. I wish I was one of them...but at the same time, I don't. Kind of like how I love yet don't love the Darkling. God, this book can make a war out of me.
I loved that we get both a taste of the powerful Grisha life and politic, as well as getting to explore the world of Ravka. You get luxuries, which is always fun to read about, and also the thrill of being on the road, and of danger. Danger, power, and belonging--those are very dangerous themes, and put together, they make a deadly book. One that has captured my interest, like many others...
I cannot wait to read the next books. Once I finish my huge stack of books-that-need-to-be-read-by-the-end-of-August, I'm heading straight back for this series!
I also want to quickly thank Cloe from Mornings and Epilogues for insisting that I read this! I owe you one, Cloe :)