Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Epic Recs: February--Shadow and Bone

I don't know how many of you have ever heard of "Epic Recs" but it is an amazing and super fun feature where Amber @ Books of Amber and Judith @ Paper Riot force each other to read a certain book a month.  Check out Judith's page here and sign up for a partner!  They are really kind and spend time matching you with someone of similar interests.  That's how I met Andrea from the Youtube Channel BookStalkers.  Last month she made me read this book...  This month she made me read the following book… Stay tuned for more updates on "Epic Recs".

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Format: Library Copy
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Rating: ✎✎✎✎✎✎


The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

My Thoughts and Reflection:
*Spoilers May Be Found Lurking in The Shadow Fold*

When Andrea recommended this book to me for February I was really excited.  Shadow and Bone had been on my to read list for EVER and I was anxious to read it.  Although I'd forgotten completely what the premise was… So I picked it up from the library and forgot about it until earlier this week when I realized, oh jeez, the month is almost over gotta go!
So I picked it up Tuesday night and started reading.  And I kept reading all the way to the end because this book was fantastic!!!

I love the beginning of this book.  The glimpse into Mal and Alina's childhood gives the reader a good sense of their relationship dynamic and their personalities.  Being thrown right into the story after that was exciting.  Bardugo had the perfect balance of starting the plot movement with giving background information.  
The plot of the book was exciting, and of course had a good twist that I didn't see coming.  I was pleased with the ending, because while it wrapped up the story, it left wiggle room for a sequel.  (And this book is part of a series… so you know…)

I liked Alina as a character.  She was brutally honest, a little shy, endearingly awkward, but mostly humble.  She denied wearing the Darkling's colors so that she would be equal with the regular Grisha.  (Of course that plan of her is later overtaken by the Darkling, but still.)
I also loved Alina's love for Mal.  Deep down she knows that she loves him, and that's what makes it so painful for her to give up on him.  Later, Mal's relationship with Alina makes her apprehensive with the Darkling.  This apprehensiveness is necessary and appropriate.
The bitter betrayal that Alina later feels is raw, as well as the white emotion of joy when she is reunited with Mal.  Alina's emotions go on a roller coaster after that (and rightly so).  She was a wonderful protagonist.
Mal was, as always, an oblivious boy.  Not only oblivious to Alina's feelings, but also to his own.  He proves himself to be a man of honor and also admits his love for Alina.
The Darkling was such a, well, dark character.  He was seductive, ominous, and of course, incredibly powerful.  The way he plays Alina is painful to read, but in the end he was a perfectly crafted antagonist.  He was not obvious, nor was he completely secretive.  This blend made the reader question everything, and kept us on our toes.

Shadow and Bone doesn't have a love triangle, per say, because while there are two love interests, it becomes apparent that one is completely evil.  Alina has no trouble choosing between the two men, and I think that's what makes this not a love triangle book.
This book had everything, magic, romance, well developed background characters, detailed but not overly wordy descriptions, and of course an amazing plot and characters.
Shadow and Bone was the book that made me wonder why I don't read more fantasy, because I love it.

Anyway, yes, read this book.  I loved it so much that it is now one of my favorites… which is quite an exclusive list.  :)


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