Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Pardon me for a moment, but I need to gush about Shadow and Bone.

I finished it last night at midnight and I'm still experiencing a book hangover. I'm giddy with ALL the feelings!!!!!!

This is not a very coherent review so far.

I knew practically nothing about this book going into it besides I was in love with cover, it was vaguely set in Russia, and that a lot of people raved over it. It's kind of cool reading a book and having zero idea what it's about!

Anyway, so the story follows Alina, who finds out she is a Grisha (somebody who has magical powers) and gets taken to the palace to be trained. The Darlking, a powerful Grisha who's second-in-command to the king, thinks Alina has the power to take down the Shadowfold, which is basically this band of darkness filled with ravenous dragon-like creatures called the Volcra that enjoy feasting on human flesh. The Shadowfold divides the kingdom, and the Darkling hopes Alina can destroy it and rejoin the land. The Darkling is dangerous and intoxicating and fascinating. There's also Mal, the boy Alina grew up with. He serves as a tracker in the army, and their friendship is the force that drives the novel. And that's all the plot summary I can give for fear of spoilers!

The characterization, plot and pacing (I am in awe of the pacing, for serious) are phenomenal, the writing is lovely, the setting vivid. It's a fantastic, smart story, executed to perfection. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

ETA: My synopsis of this novel makes it sound kind of cliché. It's not. The story goes to dark, twisty places, and Alina is a fascinating, well-drawn character. She's flawed. She makes mistakes. She's not perfect. But I empathized with her in a very real way. Also, parts of this book strongly reminded me of an old favorite, Crown Duel, which made me love it even more.

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