- Release Date: June 12, 2012
- Genre: Fantasy/High Fantasy
- Pages: 358
- Publishers: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)
Synopsis: 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.
I heard a lot about this book in the YA blogging community and was ready to jump on the bandwagon. I really like Macmillan’s Fierce Reads novels, but Shadow and Bone was a lukewarm book for me. I could never get caught up in the story and it took me a while to really sit down and finish this one.
In the war-torn land of Ravka, a dangerous shadow known as The Fold has severed the country in half. Ravka’s only light in the dark are the Grisha, those who are born with the ability to “manipulate matter at its most fundamental elements” while living in the lap of luxury serving the king and the most powerful Grisha of all, The Darkling.
Orphan and common foot soldier, Alina Starkov, has always turned her nose to Grisha. Maybe it’s because the Grisha girls catch the eye of her best friend and fellow soldier Mal. But none of that matters when Alina discovers she is not only a Grisha, but the most powerful Grisha in Ravka and she with the Darkling may be the only hope to save their land.
Shadow and Bone is billed as an epic fantasy, but it felt stripped down to me. Maybe because I read this right after Melina Marchetta’s Lumatare Chronicles, which is this dense fantasy YA packed with the political nuances, rich detail, and brutality.
Bardugo created a fairly unique setting within the world of Ravka; a land based on Russian folklore and culture. While there aren’t a lot of terms, I did have to look up exactly what kvas and keftka were to get a better visual.
At the beginning of the story, I was really into this book, but when the plot got rolling it all started to feel very familiar. I know this book is a huge fan favorite, but I got bored with it. I feel like this The Only One trope is really overused in YA; There is a twist that shakes things up for the second half of the novel, but doesn’t have a big pay off.
Shadow and Bone is a stand out in YA for it’s illustrated cover and setting, perfect for readers who enjoy lighter YA or readers who want to try out the epic fantasy genre.
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I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.