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.
**Some parts of this review have been lifted from my original review way back 2016 and incorporated with thoughts from my recent 2021 re-read.
There is no denying Leigh’s talent. She is beyond good and I can see why so many readers got lost in the world/s she has created. This woman has created an entirely different universe, far beyond the scope of my imagination. It’s a dark and intriguing place. AND. I. WAS. HOOKED.
Alina is a likable heroine, not exactly my favourite but she has her strengths. There were certain parts of the story when I felt the YA-ish texture of the novel especially on Alina’s vanity moments. At first, I pegged her for being weak but she redeemed herself in the end. She actually showed that she can be feisty and strong yet her heart is in the right place. She started out as a lost girl, unsure of where she stands and what her purpose is. Eventually, she found her strength and drive and I loved the Alina that emerged from the power. I do hope I get to see more of this side in the next books. That kind of Alina, I would definitely root for.
Mal on the other hand is pretty okay if you’re just looking for a likeable and dependable male character. Nothing really surprises me about him to be honest. He is loyal to the core and would do anything for Alina and their friendship/relationship. At this point, I’m not sure where they stand but Mal is an okay guy and I would love to know more about him. There’s not much said about him and his background and I feel like I need to know more, I want to know him more. Mal is a character that’s very easy to love but very easy to forget.
Probably, the most interesting for me is the Darkling. I know I’m supposed to loathe him after what went down in the end but there’s a big mystery and story surrounding his character. You can feel the energy and power surrounding his character. I can tell there’s more to him and that his role in this trilogy is essential.
With those things I have loved about this book, there are also some things that I found lacking. These are not really big issues, but these prevented me from giving it more stars.
For starters, I was actually looking forward to a lot of action, a lot of high intensity fight scenes but I only got a few. I’m not sure where this expectation of mine came from but I was not expecting a lot of narratives about cliques, mean girls, gossip, and who is prettiest and who is most popular. It swayed from the dark and intriguing vibe of the premise.
Also, I felt like I was blindly thrown into the world without any guide at all and I had to look different words up to grasp what I was reading. It was a few chapters in before I felt the connection to the book.
other book info
Don’t miss out as SHADOW AND BONE debuts on NETFLIX on APRIL 23. The interesting thing is that it also features characters from the Six of Crows duology. Readers know that Six of Crows took place years after the last Shadow and Bone book so how they will pull it off, let’s all watch together and find out.