Shadow and Bone is a first book in the Grisha trilogy and it falls right under the Fantasy category. When you open the book, you immediately get enchanted by a wonderful map, a “must” when it comes to the fantasy books. We follow a story from the point of view of Alina, young girl who believes to be just terribly plain and ordinary, while she is everything but that.
It was an interesting start. The world Bardugo creates is intriguing and cleverly written. Reader follows Alina, as she is the narrator, and becomes rather quickly hooked to all the events and accidents that happen to her. The Little Palace, the Grisha world – everything takes the reader in and I enjoyed finding out how all these structures operate separately and together. I rather enjoyed the passages when Alina was still a part of The Little Palace (place where all Grishas are), her hard training sessions and how she finally managed to control her power.
Character development is beautifully written. Reader falls in love with characters immediately, which is really everything a writer would dream of. Even more, one get so taken in, that you cannot but love even the bad characters (um, Darkling? The man who would temp you to sell your soul and cross to the dark side? Yes, please!).
And now, the moments which let me down a bit. Alina is random, ordinary girl, completely unaware of, as it turns out, just how powerful she is. I feel like this part has become a thrope in these-days YA literature. Also, somewhere in the half of the book, everything slowed down. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, a reader does need its rest, but it really slowed down. Yet even then I wasn’t bored. Leigh Bardugo doesn’t let that happen to you. You see, here you have one major talented writer, who builds tension like not many others.
The attempts to incorporate Russian language and its elements were somewhat unnatural to me. It wasn’t necessary and maybe it would be better off without it, the story certainly wouldn’t loose anything. And although there IS a love triangle, I got hooked. The fan girl out of me is speaking now – how can you not wonder with whom will Alina end up?
I have to say that I was invested into the characters and their destiny, it kept me reading and reading and reading. I would highly recommend it to everyone who loves to read YA fantasy. Seriously, just get the book right now.
Have you read The Grisha Trilogy?