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A Reader of Fictions: Twilight and Shadow - Howard Shore

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Twilight and Shadow - Howard Shore

Shadow and Bone
The Grisha Trilogy, Book 1

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Pages: 356
eGalley Acquired from: Holt Books for Young Readers via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
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.


First Sentence: "The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke's house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches."

Review:
Guys, this book was hyped up like WHOA. Whenever that happens, I make sure to put on my skeptical hat, because usually the book ends up being all kinds of disappointing. Not so Shadow and Bone. Leigh Bardugo, you are officially a badass. This book was completely amazing. I would have read it in a matter of hours, had I not been at BEA. Oh, and, I spent some time with the folks at Macmillan, and both of the people I talked to said that this was by far their favorite book of the season, so yeah.

I love epic fantasy and I also love Russian things. While not set in the real Russia, Shadow and Bone's setting is very Russia-like. The country is Ravka. The fantasy elements are incredibly cool, with the Grisha powers ranking almost Cashore level of original (which is as high as it gets). The Shadow Fold and the volcra, too, are so creepy and fascinating.

Speaking of creepy and fascinating, I have to talk about the Darkling. From the first scene where he appeared, he totally captured me, even though I was pretty sure he was a terrible guy. Seriously, he is like majorly alluring. I don't know whether I should root for him or not, because he's got this whole evil dictator vibe, but also seems like he might be better deep down. I don't usually go for bad boys (although that seems a bit mild for the Darkling), but wow.

Of course, he's not the only man candy in this book. Yes, there is a love triangle, but I declare myself okay with this one, so no worries. The other guy is Mal, Alina's childhood friend, who she's been hopelessly in love with for ages. I have to say that I was pretty much immediately into him as well, mostly because his name is Mal. In my head, I see Malcolm Reynolds, so he has to be awesome.

Alina starts out pretty weak, although still with some serious gumption. It was an utter pleasure watching her grow and discover herself. I also really liked the way she changed as she came into her powers. Bardugo has written such a wonderful metaphor for what subverting your real self does to you. By the end of the book, Alina is a definite heroine.

What I hate about this book is knowing how long I probably have to wait for more! The ending of Shadow and Bone isn't a cliffhanger, but there's still tons that needs to be resolved and waiting is going to be painful. I need to procure a copy of this for myself, and so do you!

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Quote: 
I threw up my hands in exasperation. "Stop him from doing what?"
"Using the Fold as a weapon."
"I see," I said. "Does he also plan to build a summer home there?"

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13 Comments:

Blogger Blook Girl said...

GREAT review! I am so incredibly excited for Shadow and Bone. Leigh will be here on Wednesday as part of the Fierce Reads tour and I will _finally_ have this gorgeous book in my grubby hands :-)

I agree about uber-hype books. I always worry. Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised; more often than not, I'm disappointed. Thankfully, it sounds like Shadow and Bone will surpass my expectations!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts :-)

June 10, 2012 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

I knew you'd love this one! I actually went and bought my own copy that's not a digital freebie that I got from Net Galley. I rarely buy books now that I get for free digitally. But this one, I know I will read again. It's definitely one of my favorites of the year so far.

June 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I totally missed this comment before. So glad I found it!

Anyway, I don't want to be the one to cross the overhype line, but I loved it. I know that some people have had issues with the Russian elements not being accurate, but I'm not especially bothered, since it's Russian-based fantasy. Whatevs to me, although their points are valid.

Some people had trouble with the characters initially. Again, I see where they're coming from, but I liked Alina right away. Mal took me some time to connect to, but I think that may have been by design.

Hope you like it!

June 11, 2012 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You were right! This is why I listen to your recommendations when you specifically tell me. We don't always see eye to eye, but you know what I like, haha.

I buy ones I get digitally fairly often. Digital copies mean nothing to me. I don't feel like I own a book unless it's sitting pretty on my shelf.

June 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

This sounds like a great read! Like you, I'm interested that this is set in a Russia-like setting and I've been really into fantasy lately. I'm especially interested in this novel because I love heroines that show growth. Thanks for the awesome review!

June 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

When you rate books higher than a 3, I immediately move them higher up on my list. :-P

June 13, 2012 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Haha, your list must be going crazy so far this month! I'm not quite THAT picky. :-p

That's awesome, though! Makes my evening!

June 13, 2012 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Fantasy is awesome. I've been into it for...well, a long time. My favorites are when you can see the characters maturing throughout the story. That's why I love the manga Fruitsbasket so much, which really is a random transition, but I don't care because it's my blog and I'm sleepy!

June 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM  
Anonymous Belgie said...

I love the world that the author has created it sucks you in from start to finish. What I really appreciated about this book was that it kept me guessing and it had several shockers that I did not see coming. The author also had a way of making you love all the characters even the villans. This is a must read.

June 13, 2012 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I totally agree about the villains. If anything, I wanted to know more about them than about the good guys! Although I loved them too. :-D

June 13, 2012 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Stephanie T. said...

I read the book and I have to agree with you about the reviews of it being SO hyped up, and I was a little hesitant to read this, but this was 10 times better than I expected it to be. The Darkling was pretty suspicious since he first made his appearance. Halfway through the novel, when there was that huge plot twist and everything changed, I just didn't know what to do. I can't choose a team. I cared for all of the characters. The wait for the next book is going to be a long one. I fell in love with Leigh's writing and have to get my own copy of the book.

July 31, 2012 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I am totally with you on that. At first I was all 'I see what you're up to Darkling,' but then I was conflicted.

Intellectually, I know Mal is the right choice, and he is a pretty great guy, womanizing at the opening aside. However, the Darkling...he's just...WANT.

July 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

I'm finally listening to this and you are so right in All The Things! *dies*

April 14, 2013 at 10:32 AM  

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