Wednesday, October 22, 2014

YA Wednesday! Review ~ Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #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.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)        

I kept hearing about this book. The good and the bad. It was everywhere. I needed to read it. I was totally engrossed from the first page. I loved Mal and Alina and the entire atmosphere of the book, including the writing. I've heard a lot of complaints about the use of a Russian theme. As someone who has spent years studying Russian history and the Russian language I can tell you that I was not bothered by it. It's a beautifully crafted YA fantasy read.

Before I forget can I just mentioned that I love this cover. It's sooo cool. I also loved the typeface and all the details on the pages as I read. For me little visuals like this are great embellishments to books.

Yes, this is a YA fantasy romance and YES, this is my favourite type of story. However, there are millions out there and I have read some that I didn't enjoy or finish. This takes my love of YA fantasy/romance  and combines it with a rich folklore and storytelling .

The story is about Alina and Mal who were orphaned as young children and end up growing up together at the estate of a kind duke. Both of them end up being tested by the Grisha, who are a powerful group of magicians, but neither of them show an aptitude as a Grisha. Alina ends up studying to be an army cartographer and Mal becomes a military tracker. Both Alina and Mal are accomplished in their studies and as both are serving the military it allows them to continue to be together.

Alina who is described as very bright but homely has to watch as her best friend Mal, who is of course dashingly handsome be adored by every single girl around.  However, over time they realize that they are best friends who also have romantic feelings for each other. It's a slow burning love that comes from friendship.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the book and during an attack it becomes known that Alina actually has powers she didn't know she had. This leads her to become a very important person in the kingdom and her life is in constant danger. She can save the kingdom but only if she is kept save from her enemies, which include those in the kingdom and those outside of it.

This is a great first book (and lucky you can catch up with the other two now). I really enjoyed this book. I was in the mood for fantasy and I love Russian elements to a story. All together it was a great combination for me and I can't wait to see where the story goes from here.

5 Totally Addicting Skulls