Wow, Just Wow: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy
Published: May 7th 2013 by Square Fish
Source: Bought/Own Copy
Author's website | Goodreads
Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal--and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina's extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what 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.

Right now I am facing possibly one of the hardest predicaments I would ever have in my life. That is, formulating a review for Shadow and Bone.

***Warning: This review was written right after I finished the novel.  It might; be lengthy, contain incoherent expressions, burst due to all the feelings I have for this book. But… whatever. I want the feels raw and unbiased.***

Let me begin by stating that I was absolutely intimated by the thought of reading this book. There was so much hype, so many good reviews, and so many friends convincing me to read it ASAP. I was afraid of not liking it unlike how much others did. Also, I was scared because I knew it was somehow high-fantasy and I might have a hard time getting through the writing and setting. AND PLEASE SLAP ME FOR HESITATING ALL THIS TIME!

Just after I read the short prologue, I was sure I was in for something fantastic. Contrary to what I feared, the writing flowed soundlessly, caressing my mind as I read on. Now I do realize why the word “fantasy” was invented—just for this sort of stories. I thought I would have a hard time absorbing the unfamiliar world, but I wasn’t confused at all. It was so easy to lose myself in the world Leigh has created. I owned it. It was mine and I was there. I fell in love with the place and story Leigh Bardugo has crafted. I would not be surprised if she told me it really existed.
“The problem with wanting," he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, "is that it makes us weak.” 
The writing was not any different. It was utter magic. It was melody to my ears and brain. The names, places, and language felt peculiarly familiar. Even if they were, they didn’t sound or seemed foreign at all. I was only planning to read a chapter, and the next thing I know, I was closing the book. I wouldn’t say though that I devoured this book. I savored and relished every stroke of letter inked in its pages. 

Alina Starkov was a likeable character. More than that, it was so easy to root for her; to feel glad when she’s glad and to grieve when she’s sorrowful. When she fails, I feel down. And when she succeeds I feel triumphant, too. Every step in her journey, I was there—supporting her, asking her to not give up, shouting at her, shaking her to put some sense in her brain. Personally, I was looking for a little more resolve in her, although aside from that, she definitely was a strong girl. I admire her firmness and her fierceness, and her will to stay upright when all else fails.
"I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.” 
And inside this book is, folks, a love triangle that actually works! The choice isn’t obvious (it was a fair battle), and you’d actually find yourself sympathizing for both the Darkling and Mal. It wasn’t the focus, but the dilemma Alina had of choosing between the two was always there. Admittedly, it was hard to choose who I prefer Alina to be with. It was heartbreaking even for me to see Alina’s heart torn between the two gentlemen. It wasn’t being slutty, but rather genuine confusion and the want and need to belong.

And if you’re asking: I am Team Mal.  I AM TEAM MAL 5EVER. (Especially after I read the lost letter of his, really, my heart just went out to him and Alina. <3 p="">

The plot was thoroughly engaging. There was a constant flow of happenings and it didn’t bore me one second. Something would always pique my curiosity and something would always catch me by surprise. I haven’t had a single idea of what was to happen next. I was somehow dreading every chapter because each time, more disastrous things occur. But that was what hooked me and, well, ripped my whole being apart when I turned the last of the book’s pages. Every chapter finished and every chapter started was a pain. I didn’t want it to end, yet I just couldn’t put the book to rest.

This is exactly that kind of book so precious you want to keep it to yourself, to own, to never share. It has become a part of you so much that the mere act of telling it to somebody makes you feel robbed. This is the kind book that makes you afraid to read your next one because it might disappoint you.
“A moment later the boy whispered, "I don't think you're ugly."
"Shhhh!" the girl hissed. But hidden by the deep shadows of the cupboard, she smiled.” 
If you still can’t see how much I’m recommending this book, no person is as dumb and blind as you. It’s Game of Thrones and The Selection and Beautiful Creatures and everything else, but still distinct in its own. It’s the best work of art yet, painted with enchantment and a unique kind of power. This one’s for YA people who don’t like high-fantasy, and for those who fancy high-fantasy but don’t prefer YA. In short, it’s for everyone and, if you haven’t, read it NOW!


Buy the book from: Amazon / The Book Depository UK / Kindle

PS. I just love EVERYTHING about this book. Even the cover art & typography, the world illustration, the chapter headings—EVERYTHING!

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  1. I really enjoyed the world and the writing style in this one, although it got a bit weird about half way, but I still liked it overall! Like you, I am seriously afraid to read the next book, even if I've owned it for a while...

    Christie @ Read by the Undead

  2. Those quotes are perfect. There's just one thing though, ALARKLING 5EVS <3 (I know, I've said this 1827432 time already... BUT MALINA *CRINGE*)

    As always, bangin' review, Kyle!

  3. I think I'm one of those stupid people who haven't succumbed to the hype of Shadow & Bone but those quotes you posted above make me want to pop my Grisha series cherry! X)

    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading

  4. I LOOOVE THIS BOOK TOO <3 I agree with how beautiful and unique and magnificent the world building is--slap me too cause I just started this series a couple months ago. Now I'm saving to order a copy of Siege and Storm!

    Btw, I'm a Dalina or Alarkling or whatever you get the point I ship The Darkling with Alina but I totally understand you for feeling conflicted and torn about the love triangle cause I really like Mal too :3

  5. I enjoy reading this post. You should do more or spread this to the PH book blogging lol. I agree.... as the cover changes it alters my perception towards the book. I'm one of those people who judge a book by its cover.



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